Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are, in most of the ways that count, much the same as previous games in the Pokemon franchise. That's in part why the differences stand out so much, and is definitely why fans demand in-depth explanation for any Game Freak decision to change things. Nevertheless, game director Shigeru Ohmori continues to diligently answer questions about topics that may be controversial, maintaining a surprising level of transparency for Pokemon Sword and Shield's development.

Speaking with German outlet InsideGamer, Ohmori candidly explained why Game Freak had decided to make a big change to Pokemon Sword and Shield's Experience Share system. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, all experience earned will be shared across the player's entire party of Pokemon with no way to turn it off. According to Ohmori, it's very simple. Based on Game Freak's accumulated data, very few people didn't use EXP Share. It made sense to design the game for the vast majority of people who use EXP Share and never stop.

In a follow-up thought, Ohmori recognizes that while the vast majority of players use EXP share, some don't. He says Game Freak considered this rare case where a player might want to level just one or two different Pokemon. In these cases, Game Freak decided, the player can simply empty their Pokemon out of their inventory and putting them in the PC. They can then train with just one or two Pokemon, so all of the experience is reserved for them.

Ohmori's explanation makes a lot of sense. Rather than build in a feature that caters to a minority of players and confuses the majority, it's both simple and effective to remove it. As such, now the majority of players won't have to deal with it, while it becomes an advanced tactic for the very small minority of players who want to stack experience on a single or pair of Pokemon. It also allows Game Freak to completely bypass having to work on an EXP Share item or toggle.

sword shield level up

The decision to mandate EXP Share in Pokemon Sword and Shield will still be controversial. That's mostly because the people most likely to be frustrated with it are already also the most vocal critics of any change made to the games. On one hand, it does make sense that a toggle button would be the best middle-ground solution to the issue. It could default to on, but allow those who dislike it to turn it off with ease. That said, the lack of a toggle is such a small problem for players to deal with that Game Freak's logic sounds perfectly reasonable.

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield release November 15 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.