With just about a month to go till the Pokemon Sword and Shield games go on sale, Game Freak reveals new info on what fans expect. Thanks to Game Informer’s coverage, we now know more about the gameplay.

As you know, the Sword and Shield games will first take place in a new region called Galar which is based on the UK. Even though there will be some familiar Pokemon like Zigzagoon and Weezing taking on new Galarian forms, not every Pokemon from past generations will be included in the games. This is to focus on new gameplay mechanics and features that we’ll get to see in the upcoming Sword and Shield games.

Producer Junichi Masuda explained to Game Informer: “Going forward, thinking about the future of Pokémon, we want to prioritize all those new gameplay ideas, new ways to enjoy the game, and want to challenge ourselves at Game Freak to create new ways to enjoy the game. That’s really what drove the decision for this new direction.”

The decision was made in agreement between Game Freak, The Pokemon Company and Nintendo.

“We really spent a lot of effort deciding which would best fit the setting of the adventure and the features that we wanted to implement. I think players will be satisfied. There’s quite a few Pokémon that you’ll encounter in the Galar region Pokédex, so I think players will have fun seeing all the Pokémon,” he added.

So rest assured, what’s been cut is only making room for other stuff like new gameplay mechanics and features.

Below is the list of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s updates as announced by Game Freak.

All Pokemon you catch can be used in competitive battles

This is a refreshed back-end system that enables you to use the Pokemon you catch in competitive battles. This means that you no longer have to dump the Pokemon you’ve been journeying with since day one just because they can’t actually be used or are not competitive.

Planning director Kazumasa Iwao told Game Informer, “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. But you’ll see that there’s a system in the game that will fix that for people.”

This is also perfect for those Pokemon you’ve caught in a previous game that you want to bring over to the Sword and Shield games.

“I think with Sword and Shield we wanted to also have a system that makes it a little bit more accessible,” he continued.

Automatic Exp. Share and Autosave

Director Shigeru Ohmori confirmed that the Exp. Share is no longer needed as a key item that can be turned off or on from the Bag menu. Instead, all Pokemon in your party automatically get equal experience as you progress through the game.

He also revealed that your games will be autosaved seamlessly, even after you make a trade.

“It’s a new feature we’re implementing: full autosave functionality,” he said.

But if you’re not keen with this autosave feature, you can turn the feature off and use the traditional method of manually saving the game yourself.

No more HMs

Hidden Machines (HMs) are special moves that you can teach multiple Pokemon to use in battles and special circumstances outside when exploring places. They are usually obtained to unlock never-before-accessed parts in the later stages of the game. They have always been part of the Pokemon games, but for Sword and Shield, they won’t be available.

Iwao explained, “This time around, we didn’t feel it really matched the concept, especially with the Wild Area and wanting to have this higher degree of freedom. The player can kind of choose how they want to engage with the gameplay.”

Dynamax and Gigantamax, New Max Raid Battles

So your Pokemon can grow to a gigantic size, something Game Freak has added to the Sword and Shield games. It’s a mechanic known as Dynamax where it not only temporarily makes your Pokemon become ginormous but also increases their stats and turns their moves into Max moves during battles. Any Pokemon can Dynamax during a battle, as long as the trainer acquires the Dynamax band. Another similar transformation is Gigantamax, which works the same except that only certain Pokemon can Gigantamax. When they do, their appearance change as well.

In Pokemon Sword and Shield, you can challenge giant Pokemon in cooperative Max Raid Battles. This is a concept influenced by the success of raids and playing with friends on Pokemon Go. Yet they aren’t supposed to be so easy as the level of difficulty may vary.

Iwao clarified, “It starts out a little easier, then you can choose the difficulty based on how powerful your Pokémon are,” Iwao says. “Even for me, a seasoned Pokémon player, even if I go with one of the five-star Max Raid Battles, I can definitely run into situations where I’m not able to win.”

The Pokemon Sword and Shield games are set to release on 15 November 2019.

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