A potential source of frustration for hardcore Pokémon fans with the games is that the creatures they’ve become emotionally attached to during the journey aren’t necessarily competitively viable. Aside from widespread species and types, individual Pokémon have their unique stats, determined by things like personality. Unique personalities mean you might catch a Gyarados in your game, a Pokémon with a strong Attack stat. You may grow attached to it throughout your journey to become Champion. However, if it could have a personality that doesn’t complement its Attack, it might not be terrific to use in highly competitive battling. It seems Pokémon Sword and Shield will try to fix this problem.
During an interview with Game Informer, Sword and Shield planning director Kazumasa Iwao says he wants to make sure players can make the Pokémon they’ve journeyed with competitively viable. Those choices should come regardless of what personalities or stats they spawn with at the beginning. He states,
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. There’s a lot of hidden parameters to Pokémon that aren’t surfaced to the player. We’re doing a lot of stuff in the back end introducing systems that allow players to make sure that Pokémon they want to use in competitive battles are viable.
Typically, players will resort to doing a ton of breeding to create the most competitively viable Pokémon. Iwao says he has to remain vague, but explains, “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.” He stops short of saying that players will be able to select each Pokémon’s personalities somehow, but something along that line seems to be the implication.
Iwao also mentions that this new stat-determining mechanic will be accessible for Pokémon that you’ve brought over from previous games. This choice allows the player to make Pokémon with long-time sentimental value competitively viable.
Pokémon Sword and Shield will launch on the Nintendo Switch on Nov. 15.