Update: This argument has since been debunked in a series of tweets by one intrepid 3D Artist.
After news that all previous Pokémon wouldn't make it into Sword and Shield due to Game Freak needing to "redo models," it's now been confirmed that Sword and Shield is taking at least some Pokémon models from past games.
This is a direct contradiction of what was said in the past, where an interview refuted the rumors that models were being reused. The reason for Pokémon being cut was that redesigning models was too labor-intensive, and developer Game Freak could only manage so many. With data miners directly lifting the critters from advanced copies of Sword and Shield and comparing them to the ones present in Sun and Moon, the models are an exact match.
Pokémon is the largest multimedia franchise ever. That's $90 billion in total franchise revenue. To put that into perspective, an average American worker who made $46k a year would need to work for 21,000 years to make one billion.
It would be possible, with the money The Pokémon Company makes, to hire an animator to create custom animations for every single Pokémon. Pokémon actually makes very little from games compared to merchandise sales-- the accumulated worth of the games is $17.138 billion against $64.1 billion for Pokémon accessories, plushies, backpacks, and more.
No matter what arguments The Pokémon Company makes for saving on costs, people are understandably upset by this news. If Pokémon weren't cut because resources were being spent making the game better, a more probable explanation is it was simply easier to do half the work with half the Pokémon, despite the premium price tag of the final game.
As Arlo from YouTube puts it, "There are series that sell less, and make substantially less money, but put so much luxurious detail into their games." Yet Pokémon still looks and feels like a last-gen game. Allegedly, the 3DS entries used downscaled high-res models to ensure future-proofing of the series. In other words, there exist models ready to bring into Sword and Shield, but The Pokémon Company has chosen not to use them.
Posts on Reddit continue to make fun of the situation through memes and jokes, with the hashtag #GameFreakLied trending only days before release. Whether or not these data mined models are the exception rather than the rule is yet to be seen. If even some of them were brought over, it's hard to find excuses stopping a patch from saving Pokémon who are depressingly absent from this newest entry.
Pokemon Unite is falling far behind the competition when it comes to the metagame, cosmetics, and fun events.