Pokemon Sword and Shield will have Max Raid Battles, plus all the other new info that dropped today

A bevy of new Pokemon Sword and Shield (opens in new tab) information was revealed in coverage emerging from Game Informer’s latest cover story (opens in new tab). From certain Pokemon not making the cut to the addition of an autosave feature, we’ve gathered all the new details about the upcoming game here, for your reading pleasure.

Max Raid Battles are no joke

The new Dynamax and Gigantamax mechanics allow trainers to dramatically grow their Pokemon in size for several turns and use a special move directly related to being absolute units. The Gigantamax mechanic also makes alterations to the Pokemon’s appearance, and can only be used on a select number of Pokemon (Dynamax can be used on most). These mechanics aren’t the only times you’ll see some chonky Pokemon, as Sword and Shield will introduce Max Raid Battles, which were initially billed as “cooperative battles” but shifted after Pokemon Go introduced co-op raids.

According to the Game Informer piece (opens in new tab), Max Raid Battles will be ranked by stars, the highest of which (five star battles) often get the best of the developers. Expect Max Raid battles to be a fun way to team up with friends to take down some big ol’ Pokemon – but don’t expect them to be easy. 

Autosave is coming

The rumors are true – Pokemon Sword and Shield will implement an autosave feature. The game will constantly save in the background – unless you decide you’d rather it not do that. Yes, autosave can be turned off in favor of the traditional pause-and-manually-save approach, if you’re looking to use that feature for catching Legendary Pokemon. But the developers think that even that process may feel different on the Switch, as restarting the device is far different from previous consoles. 

Pokemon that didn’t make the cut will eventually return

It was revealed during E3 that some Pokemon won’t be in Sword and Shield, much to our disappointment. But in reality, there’s a ton of Pokemon, and they take up a lot of space. Producer Junichi Masuda told Game Informer (opens in new tab) that the sheer amount of critters had become “unwieldy” and was actually deterring developers from working on new gameplay ideas. 

After much deliberation, it was decided that Pokemon who would be cut from the Sword and Shield team were ones that didn’t fit the Galar region setting, in a ‘one of these things is not like the other’ kind of deal. However, Masuda confirmed that those Pokemon will return for future games in different regions.

No Hidden Machines

The special moves that can be taught to multiple Pokemon and used both in battle and outside of it will not be in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Developers wanted to lean more into the higher element of freedom that’s central to the new titles, and decided that HMs did not match the concept, as they are more rigid in their functionality. 

Sharing is caring (and automatic)

In previous games, Exp. Share was an item that let you split up the experience gained in battle evenly amongst all the Pokemon in your party. Developers have done away with that in Sword and Shield, opting instead for an automatic option. Your Pokemon will get equal experience automatically as you play the game, no items necessary.  

Play with your favorites

In previous Pokemon games, your favorite Pokemon might not have been cut out for battle. Maybe your Squirtle just wasn’t ever ready for the big leagues, but you had a sentimental attachment to him because he’s so god damn cute. You still couldn’t really battle with him, so you’d go out and breed for the perfect fighting Pokemon. The developers at Game Freak were vague about it, but there’s a new feature that will erase that necessity, and make it easier for you to fight with the Pokemon you have a connection with from day one. 

Pokemon Sword and Shield will debut on November 15 on the Nintendo Switch.

Until then, study the Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokedex (opens in new tab). You’ll be tested on it later. JK. 

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