One of the biggest controversies surrounding the launch of Pokémon Sword and Shield on Nintendo Switch was its incomplete Pokédex. At the time, game producer Junichi Masuda explained that competitive balancing issues and development deadlines were to blame for some of the now 800+ Pokémon missing out on an appearance, but the whole situation caused a bit of a stink online.
One very vocal group of upset fans and a failed boycott attempt later, those complaints have largely settled down – partly thanks to the fact that the game's roster has now been expanded through DLC – but some anger and resentment still remains. It makes it all the more interesting, then, to learn how the team behind the upcoming New Pokémon Snap has decided to tackle the inclusion issue.
Speaking to Game Informer, the game's director Haruki Suzaki (who has experience with the franchise, also serving as director on Pokkén Tournament), explains that choosing which Pokémon should be included was "truly hard". Here are his full comments on the topic:
"The selection of Pokémon was truly hard. My vision was to create a world where you can actually imagine wild Pokémon thriving in their natural habitats and ecosystem. At first, we thought about Pokémon’s natural habitats and fascinating landscapes and climates to research. Then, we narrowed down our choices by balancing out how different Pokémon would live in these habitats and their relationships within each environment. As a result, there are more than 200 Pokémon, rich in variety, appearing in this game."
It's perhaps worth noting that expectations for a 'complete' Pokédex in New Pokémon Snap will be far lower; the original game, released over 20 years ago, only featured 63 of the original 151 Pokémon, and so it would make sense for a sequel to follow suit with a limited selection.
Still, it's interesting to see that the team has made its choices by focusing on how each monster would work within the environments created. Suzaki also notes that he "absolutely wanted to keep the foundation of the base gameplay where everyone can have fun just looking at Pokémon thriving in nature and taking snapshots of them."
New Pokémon Snap launches on 30th April for Nintendo Switch. You can check out our early impressions with the game here if you haven't done so already.