Due to both the limitations of the Game Freak development team and plans for balance, not all Pokemon from previous generations of the series will be available in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. The games will be limited to their own Galar region Pokedex, which is all but certain to be significantly smaller than the more than 800 Pokemon in the national Pokedex. But Game Freak acknowledged that there remains a possibility that at least some of those Pokemon could be added to Pokemon Sword and Shield post-launch.
As understandable as Game Freak's decision is given the impressive visual standard that Game Freak is targeting and the amount of work it would take to add each Pokemon to Pokemon Sword and Shield, dedicated franchise fans are still very frustrated. Those same fans are hopeful that Game Freak can still shift direction and add more Pokemon before launch. Or at least add more Pokemon following the two games' launch.
Pokemon producer Junichi Masuda luckily provided comment on this exact subject with Japanese outlet Famitsu. And while he doesn't offer any positive news for the moment, he also doesn't offer any negative news. Masuda confirmed that no decisions have been made yet about the possibility of more Pokemon being added to Pokemon Sword and Shield post-launch.
The company line remains that only Pokemon featured in the Galar region Pokedex will be available in Pokemon Sword and Shield at launch. However, a decision will be made by Game Freak over the coming weeks or months between now and launch. That decision will be as to whether Pokemon will or won't be added to Pokemon Sword and Shield post-launch. And that decision will likely be influenced by the current outcry from fans to make as many Pokemon available as possible.
There's hope for more Pokemon to come to Pokemon Sword and Shield. But if fans are being realistic about the situation, it's unlikely that their expectations will be met. Based on what was shown during E3 2019, the Galar region Pokedex currently features just 150 Pokemon. Game Freak might be holding some back, but if that's all of the Pokemon it has available now this close to launch, it doesn't seem likely that so many more will be added.
Even 300 or 400 Pokemon seem like they could be out of reach. It's just too much work for Game Freak's limited resources. Not even Pokemon added post-launch will likely catch up to all 800 and more for a long, long time. And so Pokemon fans have a question to ask themselves: is it the total number of Pokemon that defines their experience, or the game world, the region, the story, and the rest of the game? Is disappointment in one aspect of the game enough to dismiss the rest?
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield release November 15 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.