As more information about the next Pokémon game, Pokémon Let’s Go, comes out, longtime fans of the series have noticed that many of the gameplay elements of the game are different than a mainline Pokémon game. One major change that many fans immediately noticed was the removal of wild Pokémon battles from the game, replaced by a Pokémon GO-esque catching minigame where the player has to physically throw the Pokéball. In a recent Famitsu interview with the Pokémon Let’s Go director, Junichi Masuda, the reasons for these changes have been brought to light.
Masuda said that the reason the wild battle mechanics were changed for Let’s Go is to make the gameplay closer to Pokémon GO. He wanted Let’s Go to be a way to ease new fans who got their start playing Pokémon GO into the series and thought the wild battle and capture mechanics currently in place may be difficult for the new players coming to the series from GO. He also stated that this change was controversial even within Game Freak staff. Masuda told Famitsu that these changes are his responsibility as the director, and he is open to feedback on these changes, both positive and negative.
Another change brought to the Nintendo Switch titles is regarding gym battles, the battles used to progress in the Pokémon games. While usually there are no requirements to begin these battles, Pokémon Let’s Go is introducing specific requirements that must be met before a trainer can enter a gym. From newly released screenshots it has been shown that, for example, at the Pewter City Gym, which focuses on rock-type Pokémon, the player is not allowed to enter until they have a grass- or water-type Pokémon in their party. Both of these types are strong against the rock type and would be a huge asset to winning the more challenging fight. This is another change made for the Pokémon GO players being introduced to the series, as the gyms in Pokémon GO are fundamentally different, and the players may not even be aware of how the types interact with each other. While this change is good for new players, it may ruin the experience for longtime players who are interested in more of a challenge.
Masuda has reassured fans that the new Pokémon game launching late 2019 will return to the classic gameplay, while also taking into account the feedback the company receives regarding Let’s Go.