Pokémon Sword And Shield Reveals Yet Another Controversial Change


Pokémon Sword and Shield have attracted their fair share of controversy over the last several months. The primary point of contention, of course, has to do with the series’ beloved National Dex or, more specifically, lack thereof. Whereas previous games allowed Trainers to transfer the entirety of their existing Pokémon collections between titles without limit, this year’s Switch exclusives have been confirmed to curb the habit, not out of preference, but as a necessity.

According to recent comments put forward by Game Freak, the developer explained how with so many Pokémon to account for, porting over every single creature to each new game – not including any new ‘Mons – has grown increasingly difficult as the total number has ballooned over the years. This, it says, has prevented the studio from introducing new gameplay ideas due to limited storage space. The introduction of Dynamax battles, raids, and the Wild are evidence of the renewed freedom Game Freak has to experiment, but now, another massive change to the status quo is causing outrage.

Sword and Shield will be the first entries in the long-running franchise to have a permanent ‘Exp. Share’ effect. In essence, the feature automatically doles out experience points to each Pokémon on a team at the end of any battle, regardless of whether they participated in the fight directly or not. In Sun and Moon and its predecessors, however, players were able to toggle its use on or off. That appears to no longer be the case.

Why is that controversial, you ask? For many, it’s inconsequential.

For others, the decision is incredibly controversial, as it makes training the hidden stat values (IVs and EVs) of any individual Pokémon incredibly difficult.

Is this the deal-breaker for Pokémon Sword and Shield as some commentators believe it to be? Not at all, but assuming early reports of its mandatory use are accurate, the change demonstrates a certain lack of awareness on Game Freak’s part about how many players, especially in the competitive scene, chose to play each new Generation of games. As we said, nothing has currently been explicitly confirmed, but the outlook isn’t good for the naysayers.