Pokemon Sword and Shield 3DS model recycling appears to be a false rumor

A rumor has been going around claiming that art assets of the upcoming Pokemon game on Switch have just been recycled from the Nintendo 3DS games. In response to this, the game’s developers have confirmed that claims of Pokemon Sword and Shield recycling 3DS models are false. All of the game’s models have been made from scratch.

The complaint stems from Game Freak’s decision not to support every single Pokemon species in Pokemon Sword and Shield. As part of this, the games will be the first ones in a long time to not allow players to import their older Pokemon via the National Dex. These changes have led some fans to claim that Game Freak is simply recycling assets from previous games.

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Now, a Famitsu interview with the developers has surfaced (with credit to Polygon) where the developers confirm that they are not recycling assets from previous games. The interview itself was published last month, but has somehow gone unnoticed until now.

According to Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori, bringing the entire Pokedex, which now spans 806 Pokemon, to the Switch games would be considerably more difficult than simply porting them to another 3DS game. The Pokedex’ size meant that the decision to not include every Pokemon would have had to happen sooner or later, and they simply chose Sword and Shield to do it.

That said, if he had his way, Ohmori would have liked to bring every Pokemon into Sword and Shield:

“This decision is personally sad,” stated Ohmori, according to Google Translate. “Of course, I wanted to be able to bring all Pokemon if I could do it, but it was also a decision that I had to make some day. In the end, I had no choice but to choose the quality.”

Aside from the increased graphical fidelity, Pokemon Sword and Shield does add a few more wrinkles that require the creation of more art assets. Each Pokemon now has Dynamaxed and Gigantamaxed forms. The latter actually gives the Pokemon a new look, as well as a new G-Max attack that the devs need to animate. With this in mind, the decision to limit the number of Pokemon in Sword and Shield becomes more understandable.