Game Freak’s pre-release hype campaign for Pokémon Sword and Shield didn’t exactly go according to plan.
Just weeks prior to the pair’s release on Nintendo Switch, a number of data miners, having obtained early copies of the games, began sharing a wealth of leaked material online. From the entirety of Galar’s Pokédex to confirmation of which ‘Mons had failed to make the cut as a result of Dexit, much of what had intended to be a surprise was revealed and, for many, subsequently spoiled, ahead of time.
Now that both titles have been officially out in the wild for a solid few weeks, the controversy seems to have somewhat abated, though data miners have continued to make new discoveries, it seems. Twitter user DeathChaos discovered that missing Gen 1 starters Squirtle and Bulbasaur (Charmander made the cut) are actually present in Sword and Shield‘s files. Not only that, but the modder has actually managed to implement them in-game.
Check out the clip of them in action below:
— DeathChaos (@DeathChaos25) November 12, 2019
As DeathChaos notes, both iconic Pokémon are fully functional in battle, even boasting their own animations and move sets. Sadly, despite their complete forms being present, neither character is currently obtainable, leading many to ponder why Game Freak left them out.
Currently, the running theory is that the studio intends to reintegrate both into Galar’s ecosystem via special events, i.e. Max Raid Battles. Earlier this week, the developer confirmed that a new Gigantamax form for Snorlax would start appearing in the endgame activity in December, and it’s likely that a similar limited-time format will be used for Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Whether their future arrival will be accompanied with new Gigantamax forms similar to that available for Charizard remains to be seen, however.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are available now for Nintendo Switch. If you’ve already beaten Galar’s reigning champion and found yourself wondering what’s next, see here for our in-depth post-game guide.