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Pokemon Sword & Shield devs add new features and cut old ones

Are you attached to the past? Or ready to embrace the future? Depending on your answer, you'll either be excited... or not so excited for the latest news surrounding Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. Game Informer threw a slew of questions at Sword and Shield's director Shigeru Ohmori and producer Junichi Masuda, who gamely answered as many as they could. This led to the revelation of some all-new features, and the exclusion of some old favorites, in the upcoming games. 

First off, we learned that the item "EXP share" no longer exists. Experience share has long been a lifesaver for players, allowing for all their Pokemon to gain some experience, even if they are unable to battle themselves. According to Ohmori, every Pokemon on a trainer's team will receive experience by default, doing away with the need for EXP share.

Another oldie but a goodie that won't be making a return is the concept of HMs. HMs were used to teach Pokemon special moves that would help trainers to navigate the world of Pokemon: Cut would cut down stubborn bushes blocking paths, Surf would allow for trainers to ride on their Pokemon across water, and Fly would take the trainer back to a location of their choice. Generation 7 did away with HMs, replacing them with Poke Ride. Looking back on a trailer that showcased the Wild Area, trainers were speeding around on the water via some kind of contraption rather than a Pokemon. No more free labor from your Pokemon when it comes to navigating the waves, apparently. 

We have also learned that Pokemon Sword and Shield will finally implement an autosave feature, so we won't have to worry about losing our progress when we forget to hit that save button manually. This comes as welcome news because we'll need to save often as we fight our way through the 18 gyms featured in Sword and Shield. According to Ohmori, these gyms are divided between minor and major leagues; another callback to how in Galar, Pokemon battles are sporty, complete with uniforms, sponsors, and stadiums. 

And lastly, Ohmori and Masuda assured us that the Galar region Champion Leon is naturally purple-haired, thank you very much. We were all dying to know, weren't we?

Pokemon Sword and Shield both come to Nintendo Switch on Nov. 15, 2019.