As release day for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet looms in the distance, fans anxiously await news regarding the possibility of the games including the National Pokedex – but it’s perfectly fine if Game Freak decides to cut a few hundred Pocket Monsters.
Since its release in 1996, Pokemon has managed to do what no other franchise has to date. It’s created 905 – a number that will certainly surpass 1,000 with the release of Gen 9 – unique, lovable, and memorable creatures.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Pokemon fan that doesn’t know the names of at least the original 151 monsters. And each one of the millions of people who play the monster collector has a favorite. So, when Game Freak inevitably cuts Pokemon from a game, not everyone will be reunited with their favorite monsters in the next Gen.
Sword and Shield players, for example, were not happy when the idea of scrapping it was first mentioned by developers. They later u-turned after fan backlash.
With foreboding leaks veering their heads, anxious players seek the size of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s Pokedex. But Gen 9 doesn’t need a National Dex – at least not at launch – and we shouldn’t expect all 1,000+ Pokemon to make it into every game from here on out.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: The National Dex is no longer feasible
I’m not a game developer, but you shouldn’t have to be one to realize it’s not feasible to jam over 1,000 highly detailed Pokemon into a game suitable for Nintendo hardware. Especially if fans expect them to be on par with models in New Pokemon Snap.
Game Freak has already shown multiple Pokemon in the Scarlet & Violet trailers that have stunning HD textures. Seviper’s scales and Magnemite’s metallic sheen are just two examples of how Gen 9 is going to breathe new life into the Pokemon fans know and love.
On top of that, the trailers have also shown so many dynamic changes apart from Pokemon designs. NPCs roam around instead of standing in the same spot for eternity. Swarms of Pokemon appear in the overworld both on the ground and in the air. The world is entirely open allowing players to freely explore with no interruptions.
Yet, a large portion of fans still expects to encounter 1,000+ different Pokemon. While there have been some notable Pokemon cuts from the most recent titles, it’s time we give Game Freak a break. Fans should want quality over quantity even if that means we lose a few hundred monsters.
What is an acceptable Pokedex number?
Again, fan outrage for Dex cuts in the past is somewhat justifiable. While we shouldn’t expect a thousand Pokemon, Game Freak should be able to deliver more than 400. Especially after the disaster that was Sword & Shield’s dex at launch.
With the National Dex reaching 890 Pokemon with the launch of Sword & Shield, players expected a hearty amount to make an appearance. But less than half of the National Dex would make it into the base game leaving fans immensely disappointed.
Luckily, the game’s two DLC would add hundreds of Pokemon bringing nearly every monster in the National Dex into Gen 8. And I believe this is how Game Freak should go about adding all 1,000+ Pokemon into Scarlet & Violet but not to the same extent.
There are plenty of Pokemon that can be cut at launch, and maybe don’t need to be added at all in the future. All of the Route 1 rodents and bird Pokemon from previous gens can take a hike. The overrepresentation of Gen 1 monsters is tiresome, and Legends: Arceus proved a good game can exist without them. There’s also a wealth of fish, dog, and cat Pokemon that wouldn’t be missed by the masses.
As well, Gen 9 doesn’t need to include every Legendary and Mythical Pokemon introduced. These are supposed to be rare incredibly powerful one-of-a-kind monsters, but that feeling is lost when every game since Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon has them slapped into the post-game.
Say Game Freak introduces 120 new Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet (National Dex size ~1,033). If they were to cut 333 Pokemon, that gives players a generous 700 creatures to encounter. Once you tally up the common animals, every legendary, and a heap of Gen 1 ‘mons; it’s not far from 300.
Pokemon experts speak out
And it’s not just me that feels the time of the mandatory National Dex has passed. I have reached out to long-time content creators and Pokemon Masters Lewtwo and BlueBoyPhin for their opinions – and it appears we are finding some consensus.
BlueBoyPhin, known best for documenting obscure Pokemon facts, stated, “Honestly, if there’s a decent amount of Pokémon in the game I don’t see the need for the National Dex. Pokemon is at the point where there are so many of them, that it’s either put them all in the game or select a certain decent size roster and use them to cultivate an experience.”
He went on to state that he wants a Pokedex large enough to fill each area of the game with different species. He doesn’t want to see the same Pokemon reappearing in each area, and thinks around 500 Pokemon – slightly more than in Sword & Shield – would be an ideal size.
LewTwo – a Pokemon preservationist and video essayist – shares a similar sentiment.
“Generally, there’s very little reason to not have each Pokemon unless the scope of the game benefits from that time being taken elsewhere – with LGPE it was the hyperfocus on new capture mechanics which required that each Pokemon moved differently, and Legends brought new idiosyncrasies to each creature in the game, making them feel more individual in a way that a wider number might’ve failed at.”
However, he does feel every Pokemon should be available in the game seeing as “all of the models since X & Y have been produced in high-quality for a specific future-proofing purpose.”
Not allowing specific Pokemon or forms creates a consistency issue with the only place players are able to house all of their monsters being HOME, a trophy room lacking real gameplay.
As for Lew’s ideal Regional Dex, he would prefer the 400 range. “Sun & Moon and Sword & Shield did this well, and I feel like there’s enough choice for the various re-playthroughs that a series like Pokemon incentivizes. Too many and we get the issue that Pokemon X & Y had, (457) where the route distribution became extremely bloated.”
Cutting a third of the Dex feels reasonable, but even half of the National Dex would suffice if the textures look as good as Seviper’s.
It’s not fair to the developers to continue to moan about the lack of a National Dex, at this point. And with each new generation, as new Pokemon are added a hundred at a time, we just need to accept that not every ‘mon can make the cut.