Game Freak has been known to implement new features into Pokémon games with every new Pokémon title they develop for years now. Take Mega Evolutions, introduced in Generation VI, for example, which added 48 different special Evolutions for a variety of Pokémon, old and new. Or Z-Moves, introduced in Generation VII, which gave Pokémon the ability to use a powerful attack once-per-battle. Or Generation V’s Pokémon Musical…where you could enter your Pokémon into a music-like contest. These new features are heavily highlighted with every new generation of Pokémon released, but they’re also typically disregarded in future titles, dumped for the sake of something new, or just ignored completely.
Well, thanks to a new Game Freak interview with Metro, we have some clarification as to why. Pokémon Sword/Shield director Shigeru Ohmori told Metro the reason why these features are pulled is simply to highlight newer ideas. Ohmori told the publication:
At Game Freak, it really just comes from our desire to surprise the players with new gameplay. Not to do the exact same thing every time but have a new twist on something, that keeps people surprised and enjoying the new style of gameplay.
When asked about specific features like Vs. Seeker and Battle Frontier coming back in future Pokémon games, Ohmori had this to say:
I think, if by bringing it back, it would be a surprise in itself or be a new take on the formula I think you might see some things like that happen. For example, in these games, the bike is back, which was gone for a while. In Sun and Moon you could ride on the back of certain Pokémon, to get around, but we felt with the Wild Area being so large we wanted to look at what would be the best way to let players get around and very smoothly, without too much trouble. So we brought back the bike, but we also changed it a little bit so it can now go seamlessly over water and we added new things to make it feel like it’s a surprise again.
To simply put it: Game Freak would rather focus on newer features than older ones, and will adopt them in future games if appropriate. Not really the most insightful answer fans would’ve hoped to read, but nonetheless, it’s an answer.
The full interview with Ohmori and Metro can be read here. Pokémon Sword and Shield are due out November 15 on the Nintendo Switch.