Almost every other main Pokémon RPG has a regional Pokédex – which contains all the new Pokémon for that game’s region – and a National Dex, which includes every single Pokémon, including those from previous releases (the Pokémon Sun and Moon games have no National Dex but still support transferring all Pokémon into the game)
This time, however, it would appear that Sword and Shield will only have a single Pokédex for the game’s Galar region, and while it will include some older Pokémon it won’t feature them all.
Speaking during the Nintendo Treehouse stream at E3 2019, Game Freak director Junichi Masuda explained the situation in terms of the upcoming Pokémon Home service, which will let players transfer their Pokémon between Pokémon Go, Pokémon Let’s Go and the upcoming Sword and Shield.
“Pokémon Home will connect with the Pokémon RPGs as well as Pokémon Go to allow players to gather all of their Pokémon in a single location, and of course it will work with the Pokemon Sword and Shield games,” he stated. “But there is one important change from the previous Pokémon Bank service that I want to tell all of its users about.
“In previous games that worked with the Pokémon Bank service you were able to, for example in Sun and Moon, bring over any Pokémon even if they weren’t in the Alola Pokedex.
“But with the transition to the Nintendo Switch hardware, [which is] much more powerful and [allows] us to be much more expressive with each of the individual Pokémon, and now there are well over 800 Pokemon species in the games, at Game Freak we really spent a lot of time thinking about what the best way to move forward was.
“[We were keen on] really preserving the quality of all the different Pokémon while also taking into account the battle balance of having so many Pokémon available, all within a limited development time so we don’t keep fans waiting too long for every entry in the series.
“And after a lot of discussion we decided to come to kind of a new direction. And so what that means for Pokémon Sword and Shield is that players will be able to transfer their Pokémon from Pokémon Home only if they appear in the Galar region Pokédex.
“So we were very careful, we spent a lot of time really thinking what the best selection of Pokemon to match the setting of the adventure would be. I’ll talk more about the details in future opportunities such as media interviews, but I wanted to let you know today.”
It is not yet clear whether any Pokémon not available at launch will be added to the game as an update or DLC after its release.
Pokémon Sword and Shield will be released globally on November 15.