If you thought the flak Game Freak received over its decision to remove the National Pokédex from Pokémon Sword and Shield was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Last week, the developer released a few minutes of brand new footage for the Switch exclusives as part of a Nintendo Direct presentation. As well as revealing two bizarre new Pokémon native to the Galar region, the footage covered several largely superficial new gameplay mechanics including camping and cooking.
A relatively muted affair, then, as far as Pokémon announcements go. That is, however, until fans spotted a small seconds-long detail in the trailer that could have potentially massive ramifications on the gameplay. See if you can spot it for yourselves via the video above. Hint: it appears at around the 45-second mark.
If you missed what all the fuss is about, the answer’s irritatingly simple. In the demo, as the player character transitions from an outside area to inside a clothing store, the phrase ‘Now saving…’ briefly lights up in the top right-hand corner of the screen. As for why such a seemingly unassuming feature would threaten a meltdown of epic proportions, it’s all to do with autosaves. Automatic saving during loading screens such as that shown above is common practice in modern gaming, though unlike its contemporaries, Pokémon has always had manual saves only.
Because of this, players have traditionally used each game’s save feature as a means of resetting special Pokémon encounters such as those with one-of-a-kind Legendaries. Reasons to do so range from conserving Poké Balls to soft-resetting the console in order to try and force the appearance of a shiny Pokémon. If Sword and Shield were to unpredictably autosave progress and ruin those plans? Well, the strategy would cease to be.
With that said, it’s worth noting that the evidence so-far discovered by no means confirms the presence of an autosave feature in Pokémon Sword and Shield and this could simply be a case of a poorly-timed manual save. Either way, we expect Game Freak to provide clarification on the matter in the run-up to launch. Stay tuned.