Every generation of Pokemon introduces new gimmicks and changes to the game, from Mega Evolutions to Ultra Beasts, with Pokemon Sword and Shield following suit. It is set to introduce new Dynamax and Gigantamax mechanics and is making serious Pokemon changes such as autosaves, the Exp. Share, and more. Now, it's been revealed that the traditional battle system was also almost changed.
In core games, there has always been a turn-based approach limited to each Pokemon knowing four moves. This has grown and expanded over the years, from double and triple battles to Pokemon Sword and Shield's upcoming Max Raid battles, but the core formula has always been the same. Game Freak planning director Kazumasa Iwao recently spoke about the developer's thought of changing this up.
The intended changes were never explicitly stated, but the two musings he expressed would have had huge implications. First, it could have been moved away from a turn-based method, likely meaning that combat would somehow be sped up and in real time. For Pokemon competitive players, this means that established teams and approaches would have meant nothing in Pokemon Sword and Shield, and everyone would have had to learn a brand new battle system. This was decided against because it went against the "initial themes" of the game.
Secondly, Game Freak considered allowing a Pokemon to know and/or use more than four moves, which would have had a massive impact itself. It would have changed how players approach combat, utilize combos, and much, much more, likely resulting in an imbalance between Pokemon. This was the reason Game Freak turned away from doing this, as 4 moves seemingly creates the perfect balance in past games and Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Despite the aforementioned changes, changes to Pokemon Sword and Shield's gyms, and the new Pokemon, it seems safe to say that shaking up the battle system would have still taken the cake and wouldn't have made very many fans happy, especially given the mixed bag reaction to some of the latest changes for the next-gen game.
Pokemon Sword and Shield launch on November 15, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.
Source: Game Informer