The Pokemon Sword and Shield release date is November 15. In the run up to this, developer Game Freak has confirmed that not all Pokemon from past games can be transferred to Pokemon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch. It turns out that only those available in the Galar Region, where the game takes place, will be accessible. This could vastly reduce the number of Pokemon you can carry over to Sword and Shield, though Game Freak isn’t saying exactly how many of the over 800 species will be accessible just yet.
As for the reason for the Pokedex (aka the game’s bestiary) being limited, Game Freak state it has to do with the complexity of the Nintendo Switch hardware.
“In previous games that worked with the Pokemon Bank service, you were able to — for example, in ‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’ — bring over any Pokemon even if they weren’t in the Alola Pokedex,” Masuda said during the Nintendo E3 2019 Direct video broadcast this week. “But with the transition to the Nintendo Switch hardware, with it being much more powerful and allowing us to be much more expressive with each of the individual Pokemon — and now we’re 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, really preserving the quality of all the different Pokemon.”
In an interview with USgamer, Masuda clarified the situation further, stating that the studio was aware that it wouldn’t be able to make its upcoming games compatible with every Pokemon created.
“We knew at some point we weren’t going to be able to indefinitely keep supporting all of the Pokemon, and we just found that ‘Sword’ and ‘Shield’ would probably be a good point to go back and reevaluate,” Masuda said. “It isn’t just going to be all-new Pokemon in the Galar region Pokedex; there’s still going to be a lot of favorites that fans will be able to bring over that they’ve adventured with previously.”