Pokémon Director and Producer Discuss the Franchise’s Future Amid Positive Reviews


Not everyone is happy about the upcoming release of Pokémon Sword and Shield. There’s a large portion of backlash coming from the Pokémon community regarding the franchise’s developers, Game Freak, and how they misled the community leading up the games’ release. The hashtag #GameFreakLied is, as of this writing, the top trend on Twitter.

Despite these bumps in the road, the reviews for the game have been well-received and positive from several outlets, like IGN, Gamespot, and Game Informer. In the lead up to games’ release, the leads behind the game talk about their plans for the future of the franchise.

Game Freak director Shigeru Ohmori and producer Junichi Masuda spoke about where they want to take the franchise moving forward. They shared their approach in an interview with the official Pokémon website.

Ohmori and Masuda are hoping players take to Sword and Shields new co-op battles, where trainers are going to team up to take on opponents. Trainers are going to rely on complementing the other’s strengths and weaknesses to prevail.

Another more difficult feature to implement in the game was the raid battles. The team had to approach these encounters from several angles, thinking about how different players within the Pokémon community played the game.

“There are all sorts of Pokémon players, from the casual to the very hard-core, which made it very difficult to get the balance right for this new feature, but we believe we have created something that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Ohmori said. “For example, any attack can chip away at the opponent’s mysterious barrier, regardless of the attack’s power. Also, even if your Pokémon is knocked out, you can cheer on your teammates to trigger a variety of beneficial effects.”

These raid battles are similar to the ones in Pokémon Go. However, instead of 15 to 20 trainers fighting one opponent, it’s going to be four against one stronger Pokémon. Trainers who defeat the raid battle Pokémon have the chance to capture them.

A controversial feature coming to Sword and Shield is shared exp. This feature allows a trainer to use one Pokémon in a fight, and when it gains experience points, those get shared among all of the trainer’s party.

“I spent a lot of time discussing this with our battle design team, ” Ohmori said. “We came to the realization that the vast majority of players played the games with Exp. Share left on at all times. When thinking of why players would want to turn it off, we thought it would primarily be to give Exp. Points to only one of the Pokémon in your party.”

The intent was to make it easier for trainers to grind out Pokémon levels, and trainers might be able to turn this feature off in the future, but not at launch.

Pokémon Sword and Shield officially release Nov. 15 for the Nintendo Switch. You still have time to pre-order the game from Nintendo’s eShop.