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Pokémon Sword & Shield - The National Dex Issue

Pokémon Sword and Shield, a game that will come out November 15th this year, will
introduce the Eight Generation of Pokémon on the Switch… PROPER. And understandably
brought a lot of attention to itself. An overworld much reminiscent of Breath of the Wild,
Dynamax Pokémon that essentially introduce Kaiju Battles into the franchise, FU-CKING
WOO-LOO. All these elements seemed to make a promise of the ultimate Pokémon
experience akin to the second coming of Banjo-Kazooie. In fact so much hype that you
have to wonder what could possibly go w-

Oh.

(Read the full thing here:


https://www.usgamer.net/articles/pokemon-sword-and-shield-interview​ )

If you thought that thus far they couldn’t ruin a grand promise, we’re not even a week out
of this announcement and we already have the fanbase torn and outraged as if months
have passed. There’s undeniably a ton to talk about regarding this, but decisions have
already been taken regarding those who were hyped about the game. Some are outright
not gonna buy it, some will wait until the inevitable Pokémon uuuh, GUN? - Some are still
willing to give the game a shot anyways or don’t mind the roster being cut. And the more
we move forward the more information we will get regarding how will Game Freak even
respond to all of this.

So the first question is, what exactly is the fuzz ab-

TECHNICALITIES OF THE PROBLEM

Let’s take a nosedive to see the layers of the problem first before taking a look at the
stance of each camp. O-Or should I… Should’ve said Let’s Go- iunno…

The decision to limit the roster of Pokémon present in Sword and Shield is admitedly
something that has happened before. A lot of games don’t release with the full Pokémon
lineup anymore due to the massive amount of time that it takes to implement 800 and
something characters in an RPG of this scale. Game Freak aimed to include fan favourites
to compensate, if not thread some inclusions with the VGC metagame in mind. There’s
also the Pokébank to fall back on should a Pokémon turn unobtainable in the region,
which could bring all the mons that you’ve collected and bred through the years - Think
about the friends you made along the way. All of this intentional exclusion was done so
the new inclusions could shine, as well as the new mechanics introduced.

But Sword and Shield is a special case, and by extension, affecting Pokémon Home AKA
the new iteration of Bank. Given the Switch demanded not just a new engine, but also
working on a bigger game, let alone on a home console, Game Freak, in the middle of it’s
development, realised that they couldn’t fit everything comfortably unlike other times.
Thus there was a decision. Taking into account fan favourites as well as for balance’s sake,
they’ve limited the amount of Pokémon for this entry’s Pokédex, like always, albeit
Pokémon that don’t appear in the Galar dex are not coded in and won’t be able to be
transfered from Home to that game.

That means that no, you can’t hack a level 100 Garchomp with a Z-move (No, not the
Mega, this is more threatening) because Garchomp might never exist in the game’s code
to begin with… If we’re that lucky. God help us all.

Anyways, as you can see the issue is less so that we don’t have a National Dex anymore,
which is mentioned to not be part of the plan for the current development for Sword and
Shi… S and S- Uh… SWSH.

The TRUE problem stems that these Pokémon are outright inaccesible. And no matter if
you have Home, you can’t bring them in anyways, effectively being locked into a limbo
until another game comes, most likely. Due to the development scope as well as the fact
that they can’t keep us without a game this year - If we ignore Let’s Go - The snappening
of the cast was a way to keep the devs workload a healthy one. They haven’t fully
discarded the idea of giving more Pokémon support for SWSH in updates, but it’s not
something immediate or guaranteed either. Option B, of course, was delaying the game,
which would’ve been sane enough of a decision, but a business impossibility as this was
not Game Freak's decision but Nintendo.

You can read more on this thread if you want the details:
https://www.reddit.com/r/pokemon/comments/c055b5/gamefreak_nintendo_and_the_c
onflicts_most_fans/

Nevertheless, the whiplash shouldn’t be that baHAHAHAHAHA… No…

LET’S TALK ABOUT NEGATIVES

I feel like it’s necessary to adress the problems many people have with this decision in
order to tackle the positives in the first place, thus it’s necessary to adress the negativity.
That I hate… SO much. But that’s personal bias towards the attitude people take rather
than the controversy itself, which honestly, it’s another story as it is important to point
the current flaws of the franchise. So unbiased mode, GO.

Obviously #BringBackTheNationalDex was created as an immediate reaction but as I said


earlier, it’s to put forward people’s wishes to have these Pokémon coded and supported
in the game already, NOT SPECIFICALLY because there’s no Nat Dex.

…Although collectors brought pitchforks in too given that you can’t capture any Pokémon
beyond the Galar dex. People are also extremely worried the Galar dex will be dominated
by Kanto Pokémon yet again. Sure, 800 and they keep growing, but wasn’t part of the
appeal to be able to choose whether or not you wanted to catch them all? Wasn’t that
really rewarding on it’s own right?

But let’s reel back for a moment, why are people willing to bring back Pokémon that are
already IN the game then? Well, between the hours taken to breed a competitive version
that you’ve found reliable as well as those who see an emotional attatchment to that one
guy who aided you through another game, you would really wish to have that option
available. The fact that you’ve relegated the cast to a portion already put so many people
on edge that they will no longer be able to see or use their old buddies and to many this
will be an emotional rollercoaster. Sure, call it corny or whatever, but it’s true – Some
people truly love Pokémon like real companions. Experiences and memories are on the
line, in their eyes.
We currently have 168 Dex entries on the Galar dex according to Serebii dot net, and this
number will keep growing, but based on the choices that will appear it could decide
whether or not those people who DON’T come with previous mons from before will come
to the game, no matter who, pardon the expression – FUNCTIONS in a similar manner to
them. They definitely won’t see Impidimp as Sableye, for example. Sableye is iconic in it’s
own right and a very recognisable face even if the cursed boi serves the same purpouse
(Disclaimer: ​THIS WILL AGE LIKE MILK WHEN WE KNOW MORE ABOUT THE IMP)​ . These
are also alienated by the fact that the new designs, much like every generation, might not
be able to compensate. Except Wooloo, they are perfect.

Expectations are clearly high, and most of these people feel savvy enough regarding Game
Freak’s practices when it comes to new games. That is to say they don’t expect these
Pokémon coming in a DLC pack $5 each or a Fallout 76 Day 1 4 gig patch, but rather, they
are worried a sequel game (Which I refuse calling it anything else but GUN) Will be
immediately on the way a year later. They feel like the postgame will be undercooked, and
that Home itself won’t really have much to do other than serve as a way to keep your
mons somewhere, but unusable, and it won’t be effective, let alone if it’s a paid service
much like Bank has been during Gen 6 and 7’s lifespan. On this stance, for the company
we're like "VIDEOGAMES? WE SNORT THAT, DRINK MY PEE".

I don’t think I need to waste my breath on how these business practices are not only bad,
but also alienating veterans that really, really, REALLY just wanna play this damn game.
Game Freak hasn’t exactly been the best at it, while not as bad as others, but shady
nonethenless. So you can see why this is bad and people are worried? Good, cool. Epic.

And if you're curious about why I didn't tackle the "more people should be brought in on
development" argument, that talk can be settled with a nice read on this thread about
why I did not bring it up: https://twitter.com/GafreitasArt/status/1138820428091265024

Let’s talk about the positive stance about this before my skull hatches from thi-

WHAT’S GOOD IN THIS WHOLE ORDEAL

This isn’t really an stretch as you might think, but in all honestly, we have to realize one
thing:

This won’t stop this game from being GOOD.

Dynamax facilitated raid battles, and the fact that not only the dynamic of the battle being
affected but also being a multiplayer thing makes it one of the funner introductions to the
franchise. Suddenly even teambuilding is affected as well as coop moves we sometimes
brush aside. Helping Hand is suddenly meta. SOAK HAS FUCKING HYPOTHETICAL USE FOR
DPS, THIS IS OUR LIFE NOW.

Gathering the mons on the Pokédex are also much more manageable without a National
Dex on top, it helps to keep it not just to a measurable level but also keeps the lore on a
digestible size for worldbuilding within the región. It also is much more encouraging,
because not everyone would manage to be dedicated enough to find all pokemon on both
versions if there’s around a thousand as of now. Ironically, this would also be reflected in
gameplay, where most people would only use some out of the thousand available.
Currently there's 168 revealed with a healthy dose in terms of variety that you can check
out here, and the list will grow too:

https://www.serebii.net/swordshield/galarpokedex.shtml

Ok, but what else? We also have to notice two things about Home: That the Pokémon
might be included later on through patches, which wasn’t fully discarded by the devs, thus
giving you a chance to export these mons into SWSH but also the promise that they will be
“Active”, according to them. Whether this means it could be minigames, ítem resource
generating, support with Go or if we want to be delusional, kinda like a minimalistic
Pokémon Stadium as a super hopeful best case scenario, could make a fair compromise.

Not to mention, you are always handed the option to take the mons if you want to, you’re
not obligated to take the service or the mons to it. And as a long term thing, given that the
Switch is gonna be around for a while, it just means that it will be compatible with the
next game that will come, sequel or not, which means other Pokémon will be available to
you.

…Okay I’m done pussyfooting around here’s what you all came for.

With a new generation comes a new meta, both for the VGC and Smogon this is just
excellent news. This is essentially a soft reset, and Game Freak is aware, which is why
some balance is taken into consideration regarding the Pokémon chosen for Galar. Many
problems that plagued USUM’s metagame on both spectrums will be taken away for
something much more inviting to newcomers but also NOT PLAGUED by broken cores that
we are aware of. We KNOW they will eventually come, but let’s be honest, we can enjoy
our victory while we can, and get a chance to have varied and fun teams to tackle these
metagames. Shotouts to the current Dragon lineup that only got niche mons, like Flygon,
Hydreigon and Haxorus instead of something like Garchomp and the brokest boi ever.
Let’s see if that changes because I’m not seeing as many topical Steel mons either,
curiously enough, or bugs. Hopefully the Dragons remain as is. (Disclaimer: ​THIS WILL AGE
LIKE MILK IF DRAGONITE APPEARS IN THE ROSTER.​ )

For me, personally, the biggest point is the adventure that you’ll live in Galar. I want to
create new memories as I discover this new world for the first time. I want to learn and be
invested in what happens in this world and what it has to offer. I want to create new
bonds with new friends, familiar or not. So what I truly want is to get that unique
experience that Pokémon provides in it’s adventure, not being the hero of a story in
particular but rather being part of an adventure of pure discovery.

…Yeah, ok, I can already hear you yawning, I’m getting to it.

THE CONCLUSION

We had a lot of heated debates with my friends regarding this topic, the back and forth
between the phylosophy of playing Pokémon, for as silly as that sounds, clashed
constantly. It’s the reason why I decided to talk about it here. What can we say about
what we can perceive as a bad decision? That we took the addition of every Pokémon with
the current size of the cast for granted. This is the generation where it finally catches up to
us. The future SEEMS really scary, and a lot of people have wisely decided to wait and
voice their concers, which is fine. I don’t think it’s all bleak, and I don’t think we should
tackle it with absolute negativity. For all we know, batches of mons added with each patch
would be the definitive solution for the time being, given that delaying the game would
just further complicate things since now it’s too late to pull back. We’re on a situation
where we as players have to make a compromise with the game we’ll get (Also postgame
is gonna be a thing, let’s all cross fingers it’s not fucking Gen 6 tier).

Once again it should be noted that while the name it takes doesn’t exactly reflect the
exact points behind the hastag, #BringBackTheNationalDex’s ideals are valid and getting
that voice to be heard during development will be critical for the future of Pokémon
regardless of the outcome in Sword and Shield.

But regardless, I think the perspective here is important and so is the philosophy of what
value do you give to the game when presented with this compromise. Do you want the
adventure to be captivating to you? Do you want a system that’s lush, fresh and balanced?
Do you want familiar faces as well as new ones to greet you everyday with equal
presence? What makes a game like this a Pokémon game?

What do you wish to see?

...

Thanks for reading, and let's keep the discussion going, if not with a lighter, healthy mood.

- Guest Zero (@Guest0Tweets)