It’s hard to believe, but we’re just two days away from the launch of Sword and Shield. The eighth generation takes us to the Galar region where a whole new batch of monsters awaits. Much like in last year’s Let’s Go games, you’ll be able to see Pokémon physically walking around on the overworld. Aside from making the world feel more alive, it also means wild battles are chosen, not randomly encountered. As it turns out, this was a late addition to the gameplay.
Producer Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori recently published an interview on the development of Sword and Shield. In it, they revealed that the inclusion of overworld Pokémon was a direct response to the popularity of the feature in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
One thing we didn’t originally intend to implement in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield was having Pokémon roaming around in the field. After Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! were released and we saw how popular the feature was, we worked hard to bring it over to Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield for a lot of the Pokémon and adjusted the balance of the games to make it work.
These games have been in development for nearly three years, but this decision was reached much more recently. Game Freak has had only about one year to work overworld Pokémon into the game. They play a significant role in the open-world Wild Area, so it must have been quite the challenge to implement them. We’ll see how it all works out when the games launch this Friday.