Why Are the Starters Shiny Locked? Exploring the Reasoning Behind This Game Design Decision

Have you ever wondered why the starters in Pokemon games are shiny-locked? It’s a question that has puzzled many fans of the series, as shiny versions of your favorite Pokémon are some of the most coveted and sought after in the game. The decision to lock the starters is an interesting one, and it’s one that has caused some controversy in the community. But what is the reasoning behind it?

To understand why the starters are shiny-locked, we have to go back to the roots of the Pokémon franchise. From the very beginning, starters have been a key part of the game, serving as the first Pokémon that a new trainer will encounter. These Pokémon are meant to be special, and the developers likely felt that making them shiny-locked would make them even more valuable and desirable. It’s a decision that has helped to maintain the unique appeal of starters throughout the years.

Of course, some fans argue that this is a cynical move designed to generate more revenue, as players are forced to buy multiple copies of the game if they want to collect all of the shiny starters. However, it’s important to remember that shiny-locked starter Pokémon are only a small part of the overall game experience, and they’re certainly not necessary to enjoy the game. At the end of the day, whether you’re a hardcore collector or a casual player, the starters in any Pokémon game are sure to be an important part of your team.

What are shiny locked starters?

Shiny locked starters are specific pokemon that cannot be found in a shiny form in the actual game. The locking of shiny form for these pokemon was implemented by the developers to maintain excitement and balance in the game. Shiny locked starters are some of the rarest and most coveted pokemon for those who enjoy shiny hunting.

History of Shiny Locked Starters

In Pokémon games, a shiny Pokémon is a rare alternate color version of a species, which appears different but has the same stats and moves as its non-shiny counterpart. The first shiny Pokémon were introduced in Generation II, with the release of Pokemon Gold and Silver, and they quickly became highly sought after by players.

  • In order to obtain shiny Pokémon, players typically have to encounter and capture a large number of wild Pokémon, as the chances of encountering a shiny are extremely low- about 1 in 4,096.
  • However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as the Masuda Method and the Shiny Charm, which can increase the odds of finding a shiny Pokémon.
  • But in some cases, certain Pokémon are “shiny locked,” meaning that they cannot be legitimately obtained in their shiny form under normal circumstances.

Shiny locked Pokémon are unobtainable in their shiny form due to various reasons, such as being part of a story event or being gifted to the player. The starters of each generation are one example of Pokémon that are typically shiny locked. This means that, in many cases, players cannot obtain a shiny version of the starter Pokémon through normal gameplay.

In recent games like Pokémon Sword and Shield, shiny locked Pokémon have become a more prevalent issue. This is because it limits the number of obtainable shiny Pokémon, making it more difficult for players to complete their shiny collections. However, there are still ways to obtain shiny starters, such as through events or trading with other players who may have obtained them through illegitimate means.

Shiny Locked Starter Pokémon List

Generation Starter Pokémon
Generation II Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile
Generation III Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip
Generation IV Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup
Generation V Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott
Generation VI Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie
Generation VII Rowlet, Litten, Popplio
Generation VIII Grookey, Scorbunny, Sobble

Despite the frustration over shiny locked starters, it’s important to remember that shiny hunting is meant to be a challenging and rare endeavor. And while it may be disappointing to miss out on certain shiny Pokémon, it adds depth to the game and encourages players to be strategic and patient in their gameplay.

Explanation behind locking starters

The concept of locked starters has been prevalent in the Pokemon franchise for a while now. It is believed to be a way to add exclusivity to the game and make certain Pokemon more valuable and sought after by players. Here are some reasons why starters are locked in the Pokemon games:

  • Game Balance: Starters are some of the strongest Pokemon in the game and having them easily available can disrupt the game balance. Locking starters behind certain barriers ensures that not every player has access to them and their power levels are kept in check.
  • Marketing Strategy: Pokemon games rely heavily on marketing and creating hype around certain Pokemon. Locked starters create exclusivity and rarity, which entices players to buy the game and invest their time in obtaining them.
  • Story Implementation: In some cases, locked starters are used to enhance the game’s story and world-building. For example, in the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl games, the starters are locked until the player defeats the first Gym Leader, which fits into the narrative of the player’s journey to become a Pokemon Champion.

It is important to note that locking starters is not a universal practice in the Pokemon franchise. Some games, such as Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, allow players to catch all starters without any restrictions. Ultimately, the decision to lock starters is up to the game developers and their vision for the game’s design and marketing.

Here is a table summarizing the startes that have been locked in the Pokemon franchise:

Pokemon Game Locked Starters
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup
Pokemon X/Y Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie
Pokemon Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon Rowlet, Litten, Popplio
Pokemon Sword/Shield Grookey, Scorbunny, Sobble

As you can see, starters have been locked in various Pokemon games over the years, contributing to the uniqueness and excitement of each game’s release.

Benefits of having shiny locked starters

Shiny locked starters are not available in the wild, and thus, obtaining one can be a daunting task. However, the benefits of having shiny locked starters are worth considering.

  • Unique appearance: Shiny locked starters have a different color scheme than their regular counterparts. For example, the shiny locked version of Bulbasaur has a blue bulb on its back instead of the usual green. This unique appearance makes them stand out and adds another layer of excitement to the game.
  • Increased rarity: As previously mentioned, shiny locked starters are not available in the wild. This rarity makes them highly sought after by collectors, making them a valuable addition to any player’s collection.
  • Demonstrate dedication: Obtaining a shiny locked starter requires time and skill. Players need to complete certain tasks or events to obtain them, making them a symbol of dedication and hard work in the gaming world.

Challenges of obtaining shiny locked starters

While shiny locked starters offer many benefits, obtaining them can be quite a challenge.

  • Time-consuming: Obtaining a shiny locked starter usually requires completing specific in-game events, which can take a lot of time and effort.
  • Difficulty: Some events are challenging and require a high level of skill. This extra difficulty adds another layer of challenge to the game, making the reward more satisfying.
  • Limited availability: Shiny locked starters are only available during specific events, so players must keep an eye out for them and act quickly when they become available.

How to obtain shiny locked starters

Obtaining shiny locked starters requires completing specific tasks or events. Here are a few examples:

In Pokemon Sword and Shield, players can obtain a shiny locked Charmander by purchasing the Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass. This pass includes access to the Isle of Armor, where players can complete a specific task to obtain the shiny Charmander.

Pokemon Game Shiny Locked Starter How to Obtain
Pokemon X and Y Chespin, Fennekin, and Froakie Not available
Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip Not available
Pokemon Sun and Moon Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio Not available
Pokemon Sword and Shield Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble Not available

While obtaining shiny locked starters may not be easy, the benefits of their unique appearance, increased rarity, and symbol of dedication in the gaming world make them worth the effort for many players.

Controversy Surrounding Shiny Locked Starters

One of the most talked-about topics in the Pokémon community is shiny locked starters. Since their introduction in the Pokémon series, starter Pokémon have been some of the most popular among fans. Therefore, the decision to shiny lock them has caused controversy among the community.

  • One of the main reasons for the controversy is the fact that players are not able to obtain a shiny version of their favorite starter without hacking or cheating.
  • Shiny locked starters also limit the ability for players to “soft reset” their games to obtain a shiny starter.
  • Some players argue that shiny locked starters take away from the thrill of finding a shiny, as the inability to obtain a shiny starter easily makes the task seem impossible.

Despite the controversy, the decision to shiny lock starters has been met with mixed opinions. While some players feel that it goes against the spirit of the game, others argue that it adds to the rarity and value of their non-shiny counterparts.

Here is a table showcasing the starter Pokémon that are currently shiny locked:

Starter Pokémon Generation Shiny Locked
Kanto Starters Gen III – Gen VII
Johto Starters Gen IV – Gen VII
Hoenn Starters Gen VI – Gen VII
Sinnoh Starters All generations
Unova Starters All generations
Kalos Starters All generations
Alola Starters All generations
Galar Starters All generations

Ultimately, the decision to shiny lock starters is up to the game developers. However, the controversy surrounding the issue shows that the Pokémon community is passionate about their favorite starter Pokémon and the thrill of finding a shiny.

Unlocking Shiny Starters in Different Regions

Shiny Pokemon are coveted by trainers all over the world and are known for their rarity and unique coloration. However, some starters in the Pokemon franchise are shiny locked, meaning that they cannot be obtained in their shiny form through normal gameplay. This can be frustrating for trainers who want to add a shiny starter to their collection. Here’s a breakdown of how to unlock shiny starters in different regions of the Pokemon universe.

  • Kanto: In Kanto, the original region of the Pokemon universe, the starter Pokemon Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle are shiny locked in the first generation games, Pokemon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow. However, in the Let’s Go games for Nintendo Switch, you can obtain a shiny Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle by completing certain in-game tasks.
  • Johto: In Johto, the starting Pokemon Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile are shiny locked in the second generation games, Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal. However, in the remakes Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, you can obtain a shiny Chikorita, Cyndaquil, or Totodile by soft resetting your game until you encounter a shiny.
  • Hoenn: In Hoenn, the starter Pokemon Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip are shiny locked in the third generation games, Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. However, in the remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, shiny starters can be obtained via the soft reset method.
  • Sinnoh: In Sinnoh, the starting Pokemon Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup are shiny locked in the fourth generation games, Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. Unfortunately, shiny starters cannot be obtained in these games and can only be acquired through events or trades.
  • Unova: In Unova, the starter Pokemon Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott are shiny locked in the fifth generation games, Pokemon Black, White, Black 2, and White 2. Shiny starters can be obtained through events or trades.
  • Kalos: In Kalos, the starting Pokemon Chespin, Fennekin, and Froakie are shiny locked in the sixth generation games, Pokemon X and Y. Unfortunately, shiny starters cannot be obtained in these games and can only be acquired through events or trades.

The Soft Reset Method

To obtain shiny starters in Hoenn and Johto, trainers can use the soft reset method. This involves saving your game right before the starter Pokemon is offered to you, and then resetting the game until you encounter a shiny variation. This method can take a long time and requires patience, but it is one of the few ways to obtain a shiny starter in these regions.


While shiny starters are locked in some regions of the Pokemon universe, trainers can still obtain them by completing in-game tasks, using the soft reset method, or trading with other trainers. It may take time and effort, but adding a shiny starter to your collection is a rewarding experience for any dedicated Pokemon trainer.

Region Shiny Locked Starter Pokemon Obtaining Method
Kanto Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle In-game tasks
Johto Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile Soft reset method
Hoenn Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip Soft reset method
Sinnoh Turtwig, Chimchar, Piplup Events/trades only
Unova Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott Events/trades only
Kalos Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie Events/trades only

Source: Bulbapedia

Future of Shiny Locked Starters in Pokemon Franchise

In the Pokemon franchise, shiny locked starters are a controversial topic amongst fans. While some argue that they add an extra layer of challenge to the games, others believe that they limit players from obtaining their favorite shiny starters.

  • Continuation of Shiny Locking
  • The future of shiny locked starters in the Pokemon franchise is uncertain. However, based on past games, it is likely that Game Freak will continue to implement them in future installments.

  • Increasing the Rarity of Shiny Locked Starters
  • In recent years, Game Freak has introduced methods to increase the likelihood of obtaining a shiny Pokemon. For example, in Pokemon Sword and Shield, players can obtain a Shiny Charm by completing the Pokedex, which increases the chance of encountering a shiny Pokemon. Therefore, it is possible that Game Freak may increase the rarity of shiny locked starters while also introducing methods to increase the chances of encountering them.

  • Introduction of Shiny Locked Alternate Forms
  • Another possibility for the future of shiny locked starters is the introduction of alternate forms. In Pokemon Sun and Moon, players were unable to obtain shiny versions of the exclusive Ultra Beasts, but were able to get their normal forms in shiny. It is possible that Game Freak could introduce shiny locked alternate forms of starters, such as their Gigantamax forms or regional variants.

Overall, the future of shiny locked starters in the Pokemon franchise is uncertain. However, it is likely that Game Freak will continue to implement them in future installments, while also possibly increasing their rarity or introducing alternate forms.

Here is a table showing the games with shiny locked starters:

Game Shiny Locked Starters
Black/White Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott
Black 2/White 2 None
X/Y Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie
Sun/Moon Rowlet, Litten, Popplio
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon None
Sword/Shield None

Why are the starters shiny locked?

1. What does shiny locked mean?
Shiny locked is a term that refers to certain Pokemon being unobtainable in a shiny form in certain games. This means that even with repeated attempts, players cannot capture or breed these Pokemon into shiny versions.

2. Are all starters shiny locked?
No, not all starter Pokemon are shiny locked. Only a select few have been designated by the game developers as shiny locked, meaning players cannot obtain shiny versions of these Pokemon through normal means.

3. Why did they make the starters shiny locked?
The reason for this is unclear, but it is thought that it may be to encourage more trading and social interactions among players. It also adds a sense of exclusivity to these Pokemon and makes them more coveted by collectors.

4. Which generations have shiny locked starters?
The sixth, seventh, and eighth generations of Pokemon games have shiny locked starters. This includes Pokemon X and Y, Pokemon Sun and Moon, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and Pokemon Sword and Shield.

5. Can you hack or cheat to get shiny locked starters?
No, it is not recommended to hack or cheat in order to obtain shiny locked starters. Doing so can result in account bans and other penalties. It is best to play the game fairly and enjoy the experience as it was intended.

6. Will the starters ever be un-locked?
It is unlikely that the starters will be un-locked in future updates to the games. The developers have not indicated any plans to change this aspect of the games, so it is best to enjoy the starters as they are.

7. Can you still enjoy the starters even if they are shiny locked?
Yes, absolutely! While it may be disappointing to not be able to obtain shiny versions of certain Pokemon, it does not detract from the enjoyment of the game itself. There are still plenty of other Pokemon to catch and train, and the starters are still great additions to any team.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to read about why the starters are shiny locked in certain games. While it may be frustrating to not be able to obtain shiny versions of these Pokemon, it does not diminish the overall enjoyment of the games themselves. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. And don’t forget to check back soon for more Pokemon content!