As fans gear up for the upcoming release of Pokemon Sword and Shieldthe main thing on everyone’s mind is the National Dex. For those that may not know, the National Dex is what houses every single Pokemon from every game. It has been included in every title since the original Red and Blue from the 1990s. This is set to be the first title to not feature this, which has lead to many outraged fans. The National Dex is more of a novelty than a necessity, however. It does not need to be included in the upcoming game because this allows for the series to grow and adapt to a new generation.

Pokemon has been around for over two decades at this point. The series has spanned numerous entries including spin-offs and different takes on the franchise. When it comes to main-line games, however, things have pretty much stayed the same with the exception of a few new features. From X & Y to Sun & Moon, there hasn’t been something that has shifted the series into a new direction. Each title starts with a 10-year-old moving to a new town, being forced to make friends, and using lovable creatures to stop an evil organization. Sure, there’s been a few twists here and there like the different dimensions shown in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, yet the beats are all the same. There isn’t much growth for the franchise.

Even as new Pokemon are introduced, the main ones used are those that players have come to love. Instead of utilizing new characters in a team, the same Charizards and Pikachus are being used. The best announcement from Sun and Moon was when Game Freak said many favorites are going to look a bit different now, thanks to their Alolan forms. How can the series advance into a new direction when everyone just wants to stay the same? Fans and critics alike have begun to clamor about how the series is the same thing over and over again. This is finally their chance to do so.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Preview

Before Sword and Shield were fully unveiled, the hype behind seemed to be at a standstill. Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee released less than a year before and the gameplay in mainline games hadn’t changed. The reveal of Gigantamax and Galarian forms were enticing yet what made this release truly exciting and a standout? Nothing was really being said until the developers decided that the National Dex wasn’t going to return. This wasn’t an attempt just to gain more coverage, no, it was an attempt to make this release truly stand out. The series needs this sort of change in order to pivot in a new direction.

Players spend too much time caring about the in-game creatures they already know and love. That’s not a bad thing on their part. It’s just that new ones don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Why ignore the characters you know and love, for ones you don’t care for? Simply put, it helps the franchise to adapt. It forces you to get to know new inclusions and possibly care for them just the same. This also allows the developers to experiment with new ideas and shift their attention to better additions to the overall experience. It’s also not like these beloved characters are going away forever though. The developers have stated that they’ll return in future titles throughout various regions. So you’ll still be able to play with everyone again in due time.

Pokemon Sword and Shield may just be the shift that the series needs, thanks to the exclusion of the National Dex. This move allows the franchise to experiment with new concepts and ideas that may not have been possible before. Many of these beloved characters have been around since the series’ beginning, yet it’s time to focus on some new ones as well. Hopefully, fans can enjoy this entry just as much as previous ones since it’s still shaping up to be a game with a lot of heart.

Pokemon Sword and Shield release for the Nintendo Switch on Friday, November 15.

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