In the last generation of Pokémon games, Sun and Moon did away with HMs, ridding the player of the need to dedicate a slot in their party to an HM slave. HMs remained gone in last year’s Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! and it’s staying that way with Sword and Shield as well.
In an interview with Game Informer, Pokémon Sword and Shield planning director Kazumasa Iwao confirmed that there wouldn’t be HMs in the new games. A big reason for this is the developers’ desire for the player to feel freedom in the games, particularly in the new Wild Area. Iwao explains,
We didn’t have them in Sun and Moon, and 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. Having the more HM-based elements, we didn’t feel it really matched the game, so this time around they’re not in it.
It is not yet clear if HMs will get replaced with another mechanic, like the Poké Ride in Sun and Moon, or if the need for such mechanics will be absent entirely.
Sword and Shield director Shigeru Ohmori also revealed the new games wouldn’t include the Exp. Share item. Instead, the function of splitting Experience Points between all party members will be automatic. Ohmori explained that every Pokémon in the player’s party would receive equal amounts of Experience Points regardless of which ones participate in the battle. We don’t know if this function can be turned off for those looking for a more traditional Pokémon experience.
Pokémon Sword and Shield will launch on the Nintendo Switch on Nov. 15.