While most mainline Pokemon games to date have allowed you to carry your monsters over from previous titles, we learned at E3 2019 that the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield for Switch will be bucking this trend. During a Treehouse Live segment, producer Junichi Masuda revealed that players can’t transfer every old Pokemon to the games–only those that already appear in the Galar Pokedex. And it seems Sword and Shield may not be the last Pokemon titles with this restriction.
In an interview with Famitsu (via Eurogamer), Masuda reiterates that the reason behind this controversial limitation is due to the amount of time it would take to balance every Pokemon and improve them visually thanks to the sheer size of the series’ Pokedex, which now encompasses more than 1,000 Pokemon including alternate forms. “As a result, it has become extremely difficult to make Pokemon with a new personality play an active part and to balance their compatibility,” Masuda said. “That is the reason for this decision, and we have decided that it is difficult to make all Pokemon appear in future works.”
Masuda’s response suggests that future Pokemon games may likewise not include every monster in the series, although it doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility that more could be added in to the titles down the line. Famitsu asked if that would be the case with Sword and Shield, but Masuda said that was still “undecided” at this point.
To transfer previous monsters over to Sword and Shield, you’ll first need to bring them over to Pokemon Home, a new Pokemon Bank-like cloud service launching for Nintendo Switch and smartphones in early 2020. Pokemon Home allows you to store any monster from Pokemon Bank on 3DS, as well as Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, Sword and Shield, and Pokemon Go, then bring those into Sword and Shield (provided they’re in the Galar Pokedex). Unlike Pokemon Bank, you can also trade Pokemon with other players directly from Pokemon Home. The Pokemon Company hasn’t shared any pricing details for the service yet, but Pokemon Bank requires players to have a subscription, which cost $5 per year.
Pokemon Sword and Shield launch for Switch on November 15. Nintendo revealed a ton of new details about the games during a special Pokemon Direct ahead of E3. Among other things, we learned about the games’ new Dynamax battle mechanic, which allows Pokemon to temporarily grow into the size of a building during battle. We also got a look at the open-world Wild Area that stretches between towns in the Galar region, as well as the multiplayer Max Raid Battles. You can read more about the games in our Pokemon Sword and Shield pre-order guide.