Pokemon Scarlet and Violet won’t end the National Pokedex controversy

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will only host select Pokemon caught in previous Pokemon games, a press release suggests.

The Pokemon Company’s announcement of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet yesterday included a caveat about their connectivity with Pokemon Home - the official cloud service which players use to transfer their cuddly monsters between compatible games.

“Each game that can receive Pokémon via Pokémon HOME can receive only Pokémon that can be obtained in that particular game,” a footnote reads. “To find out what Pokémon appear in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, please look forward to the release of those games.”

It’s a confusing bit of Poke-lese, but the message seems clear: not every Pokemon that has ever existed will be supported by Scarlet and Violet at release. Trainers “will be able to have Pokémon from other regions adventure alongside them” - but only those on an approved list.

It’s a position consistent with recent Pokemon games. When Sword and Shield launched in 2019, many of the Pokemon from previous games were absent and could not be imported. Game Freak added more as time went on, but the missing Pokemon sparked a community controversy dubbed ‘Dexit’, to match the faux-British setting of those games.

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At the time, the developer admitted that the increasing fidelity and animation demands of 3D games had gotten the better of them - not to mention a total roster of Pokemon that expanded with every new game. Recreating ‘em all was no longer tenable - and so catching ‘em all would become impossible too. It’s a compromise to Pokemon’s core fantasy that some long term fans have understandably struggled to adjust to.

Nevertheless, Game Freak has continued to lean into connectivity between Pokemon games like Sword, Shield, Let’s Go, and even Niantic’s mobile phenomenon, Go. Expect more of that - but in limited form as Pokemon Scarlet and Violet enter a “richly expressed open world” where wild Pokemon travel the skies, the seas, the forests and the streets.

Here’s our list of all the Pokemon in the Scarlet and Violet trailer, including the starters. The games will come to Switch in late 2022.

Jeremy Peel

Jeremy is a freelance editor and writer with a decade’s experience across publications like GamesRadar, Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer and Edge. He specialises in features and interviews, and gets a special kick out of meeting the word count exactly. He missed the golden age of magazines, so is making up for lost time while maintaining a healthy modern guilt over the paper waste. Jeremy was once told off by the director of Dishonored 2 for not having played Dishonored 2, an error he has since corrected.