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Why does Pokémon continue to have gimmicky battle mechanics in every new generation?

Sweet Serenity

Advocate of Truth
By gimmicky battle mechanics, I mean Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, Dynamax, and Teralization.

Mega Evolution has been available since Generation VI, which was a novel concept. In my opinion, though, I believe it was wasted on several Pokémon that should have never gotten it. It was also a waste because it took up a held item slot, and only a few Pokémon could Mega Evolve. In Generation VII, we got Z-Moves, which looked cool when animated, and every Pokémon was able to use them, but they wasted a held item slot and were too unpredictable. You never really knew when they were coming at all. Some of the status Z-Moves were pretty good, though. Dynamax and Gigantamax were strategic, but also quite broken and game changing at the same time. Nowadays, Tera Types are interesting because they temporarily change types, but to me, they feel like the most optional gimmick because you can still win just fine without ever using them. They're way too situational, in my opinion. Does Game Freak really have to continue doing this? If so, why? Do you think we would ever get a mainline, non-remake game with good old fashioned battling?

Please share your thoughts with me.


A lover of Foxes
I've said this in other threads, but all I want is the option to play at least most of the game with only double/triple battles.
In my opinion, they add enough battle tactics changes from the traditional single battle format to be a worthy 'gimmick' without having to add
a brand new 'ingredient' to single battles to try and make them feel more interesting.
I doubt they'll get rid of the weird (some might even say unnecessary) battle gimmicks any time soon, but that doesn't stop me from hoping.
I wouldn't mind if they stopped doing it completely, as I've barely used any of them.
I care little for temporary mechanics that won't stick around.


🦆 quack quack
  • Age 33
  • Seen Feb 23, 2023
Does Game Freak really have to continue doing this? If so, why?
Have to? No.

That said a new battle gimmick is a very easy and cheap way to generate buzz and to help the battling feel different from game to game. If the gimmick du jour makes new designs then you effectively get free press forever. A bunch of the people who like them will make alternate fan forms and a bunch of people that don't will go on a hate rant that still fundamentally drives engagement.

Plus, Pokemon isn't really just a game anymore. It's very much a franchise first, and a game second. Possibly third. Which means that the games need to cater to the whole franchise instead of being their own thing in a vacuum. This means that the same gimmick that would be nothing but a buzz generator for the game is now the central concept of the new generation of cards, as well as central story beats to the plot of the anime and any mangas.

The throwing away of gimmicks is probably more the games going "I don't want to have balance a bunch of things but I still want to innovate". Because while the cards are healthy-ish enough the way they are (and if they aren't, they can just ban them from the meta - it's normal for TCG players), and the anime can do whatever they want, the games actually have to find a way to balance all these gimmicks if they want them at all.

I also think that a lot of people don't realize that throwing away mechanics wholesale is actually a pretty normal thing in the general JRPG industry. Pokémon is an outlier, not the norm here.

The Final Fantasies tend to have different mechanics among them.
Zelda will change everything except the bare minimum of the franchise identity (There is a Link and there's a Zelda, everything else is up to whoever is in charge of directing the game) every single game.
No one even knows how many Digimon there are because they never bothered to keep any monster continuity between the games.

Even Pokemon has had a few massive changes before that most likely just predate the time of a lot of people here: when Gen 3 came they got rid of backwards compatibility and "Gotta Catch'em All". The entire reason people still thought "Gotta Catch'em All" was still a thing before Dexit is because of the anime making this sentence heavily associated with Pokemon during the height of Pokemania.

Do you think we would ever get a mainline, non-remake game with good old fashioned battling?
Probably not, for the many reasons I outlined above. I also don't think it'd be necessarily a good thing but then again, there are a lot of other lower hanging fruits they could tackle before "doesn't have a gimmick" become a very noticeable sticking point, so whatever.
  • Age 34
  • Seen today
I'd rather they keep on coming up with one-time gimmicks then seeing them go the route of western games with their carbon-copy approach of offering the same thing over and over again with as little change as possible.
Instead I feel like changing gimmick every time is not a good thing. Also yeah, I really wouldn't mind seeing either a particular gimmick stay longer or adding no gimmick at all, which can eventually happen at some point.
I wouldn't mind going back to no gimmick at all.

However, if the question is "why", then I'd answer by saying that it just fills the gap. It's kinda strange to make a new generation and not including any gimmick, especially when a lot of fans are expecting it. Plus, it's kinda comfortable for them because they can use it also for the lore and story of the game. That's generally what they do (tried to do).
Last edited:
  • Age 27
  • Seen Feb 25, 2024
Every Pokémon game needs some kind of novelty to revitalize battles, and introduce something new for players to think about when approaching them. This makes people hype, discuss, and talk about the new gimmick, whether it'll be good or not, how will it impact battles, how will it benefit or harm certain Pokémon, etc.

It's one of the things that keep Pokémon games from being allways the same (despite the core gameplay is inherently allways the same)

The first gens also had that premise of expanding the battle system, although in a different way. Gen 2 introduced Held Items and the Special Defense stat, Gen 3 added Abilities and the option of double battles, and Gen 4 the Physical/Special split.

Those were big game changers that refined and shaped the base battle gameplay as we know it today. Now, however, given that there's nothing else to refine (besides balance and other adjustments) each new Gen tries to keep things interesting by adding some new temporary gimmick, which cannot coexist with other temporary gimmicks because the gameplay would become a huge mess.

A new Gen without some kind of change to the battle system is pretty much like a new gen without new Pokémon, it's all part of the package at this point.
I can definitely do without them. I understand if the developers and staff want to make each generation have standout things compared to others but Pokémon as a series will still be very fun regardless - evident from all the games before XY when we weren't regularly getting new mechanics like this. Sometimes all I want is a main series game focusing on double battles, or just one with mega evolutions again haha :( Or just a standard Pokémon game with no new gimmicks, they are always enjoyable and I really do not need much. At least tera forms are better than dynamax I guess?


Silence is Purple
Probably because it's a selling point? Gimmicks have honestly been a thing since generation I.

Generation III had double battle as its gimmick, and Generation V had Triple and Rotation battles as little as they were used. I'm pretty sure every generation will always have a main gimmick as its selling point. I'm fine with there being gimmicks each generation because it makes a region feel different from the last one and not just the same thing again.
  • Age 34
  • Seen May 19, 2023
Well, outside of spinoffs like the Let's Go and Legends titles they can't really drastically alter the gameplay mechanics, because it's what sells and what people expect. The core gameplay of Pokemon hasn't really changed very much since its inception, and that's a huge part of its success. If it ain't broke, don't try and fix it, right? Generational gimmicks are their way of injecting something fresh into the games without jeopardising that, or sales figures which could easily take a dip if they completely depart from the formula. Spinoffs not developed by Game Freak with different gameplay never perform as well as the main series titles do, after all.

I don't think they have to keep doing it, but at the same time its become an expectation now, so a game without a generational gimmick probably wouldn't be as well-received for that. It's not something I see stopping anytime soon, and honestly it's not something I really mind because you aren't forced to use them in game: I never terastalised my Pokemon in Violet, and I think I used Dynamax maybe twice in Sword. It's just an added feature like Contests or Musicals to me: something there that I choose to ignore.