The next Pokemon is only a month away now, but there's still a lot of information left to be revealed about the series' console debut. Game Informer has announced that Pokemon Sword and Shield is its cover story for November, and as part of its coverage, the outlet is rolling out new Pokemon tidbits throughout an hour-and-a-half span today.
These range from the granular to large changes for the series, like the very first appearance of auto-save. There are also plenty of quotes from the Sword and Shield dev team, including director Shigeru Ohmori, producer Junichi Masuda, and planning director Kazumasa Iwao. We're collecting them all into one roundup below, so you can follow the updates as they're announced.
You Might Be Able to Change Certain Pokemon Aspects, Like Personality
Sword and Shield is looking to make it easier for you to compete with your favorite Pokemon, so you don't have to sideline your best bud just to pick up the latest meta squad. Iwao tells Game Informer that players often get attached to Pokemon, only to find out they're not competitively viable.
"This time around, we really wanted to introduce some systems that help the player be able to take those Pokémon they caught in the beginning, and the first one they chose, and actually take them straight into competitive battle," Iwao says.
While he's cagy about the specifics, Iwao does mention one vague example: personality. "Say you have a Pokémon where it's got all the right stats and everything, but there's a personality parameter as well that comes into play in battles, and it might not be the right personality, so you'll breed until you get the right one, is what people do currently," Iwao says. "But you'll see that there's a system in the game that will fix that for people."
From what I understand of it, that seems like a big change for the competitive Pokemon community, and hints of more to come. Can mankind truly change its nature? Probably not, but it looks like Pokemon might be able to.
Exp. Share Doesn't Require an Item Anymore
For those power-levelling trainers out there, the Exp. Share will no longer be a single item. Instead, as Ohmori tells Game Informer, every Pokemon in your party will gain equal experience automatically as you progress through the game. It's a nice little change that should make boosting up those lower-level Pokemon much easier.
HMs Are Still Out
Pokemon Sun and Moon made a big quality-of-life change by axing the HMs, Pokemon's handy-dandy traversal moves. Now, instead of having a single Pokemon with HMs heaped onto it in your party at all times, your methods of getting past environmental hazards like open ocean or large trees were independent from your Pokemon's move set.
Planning director Kazumasa Iwao confirmed that change will carry over into Sword and Shield. Speaking to Game Informer, Iwao says Game Freak "didn't feel it really matched the concept, especially with the Wild Area and wanting to have this higher degree of freedom."
Pokemon Who Don't Make the Initial Galar Cut Can Still Make It Into Future Games
One of the more controversial choices made for Pokemon Sword and Shield is the choice to slim the Galar Pokedex down and cut out some older Pokemon. Fans have been predictably upset in the time since, and as part of GI's cover story coverage, Masuda discussed some of Game Freak's plans moving forward. While some may not make it to Galar, that doesn't mean they're gone from Pokemon canon forever.
"You can look forward to seeing Pokémon that don't appear in these games appearing in different regions in future games," Masuda says. "I think Pokémon Home, for a lot of players, will serve as a launching pad to gather them all there and then embark on future adventures."
Home's announcement last May makes a bit more sense now, given the potential for Pokemon to port forward to other regions. And while the development cost seems astronomical for so many Pokemon, it's at least comforting to know that if your favorite didn't make the cut this time, that doesn't mean they're gone forever. Only Ash's Butterfree is gone forever.
Pokemon gets auto-save
As part of GI's trip to Game Freak's Tokyo HQ, director Shigeru Ohmori revealed that auto-save will be coming to Pokemon for the first time ever.
"It's a new feature we're implementing: full autosave functionality," Ohmori tells GI. "Traditionally in Pokémon games, it's an important thing to write your report to record your save, and that's always been a staple, like, 'Remember to save your game!' We do have an autosave feature this time, where you can just adventure and it'll constantly save the game."
You'll be able to turn the feature off and use manual saves as well, likely handy for situations where you want to retry catching a Legendary Pokemon (that gives me fond memories of Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno). Though restarting is a little bit more difficult on the Switch compared to the Game Boy, it's still probably worth it for those very special Pokemon.
Max Raid Battles Might Be Pokemon's Most Daunting Challenge Yet
The massive co-op Pokemon battles, called Max Raid Battles, pit several trainers against massively overpowered Pokemon. They could net you some special Pokemon, but it sounds like they'll be very difficult to overcome.
"I think some of them are going to be pretty difficult," planning director Kazumasa Iwao told GI. "I think it's going to have a kind of difficulty we haven't seen in a lot of main series Pokémon games up until now, but there is a wide spread of difficulties even in the Max Raid Battles."
While Ohmori says you won't need to be a "hardcore battler" to enjoy raid battles, it does sound like they'll take a little extra thought and preparation. I look forward to seeing the World's First races on launch day.Keep up to date will all things Pokemon Sword and Shield in our need-to-know guide.