Yesterday, the official Pokémon website announced that November’s Scarlet and Violet will introduce an auto-battle feature to the long-running creature-collecting series. Called “Let’s Go!”, the feature enables players to send a Pokémon out into the world to automatically collect items and battle with wild Pokémon. This could make exploring Paldea a lot more efficient than navigating the worlds of earlier Pokémon games, and cut out the frustrating grind of fighting a million starter mobs.
Not only will Pokémon be able to fend off wild creatures by themselves, but they can also accumulate experience points and items for doing so. And it’s about time. For eight generations of Pokémon, party members haven’t been able to do anything without their trainer’s precise command. It was like they’d lost all instinct for bloodlust as soon as they became domesticated. Not in Scarlet and Violet. Sprigatito may be a starter Pokémon, but it still remembers the thrill of the hunt.
I’m absolutely stoked about auto-battles. Several mobile games such as Dragalia Lost (RIP), Arknights, and Alchemy Stars have an auto-battle feature that makes the daily grind feel less frustrating. One player even points out that auto-battles, while fairly commonplace in mobile titles, rarely make their way to PC and console games. Yet auto-battling feels like a perfect fit for Pokémon since grinding is also a central aspect of its gameplay loop. Plus, I’ll never say no to any mechanic that allows me to see my Pokémon in the overworld.
However, not everyone is excited about the new feature. “I’m playing Pokémon, not a JRPG,” said one Twitter user, who clearly doesn’t know what genre Pokémon is. Another complained that the perfectly optional feature was “taking away the gameplay.” You know, the satisfying gameplay loop of one-shotting a level 3 Lechonk at the beginning of the game. Several players also expressed worry that their liberated, self-sufficient Pokémon might knock out a shiny by accident. So it’s probably best to turn off the feature when you’re shiny hunting. Or just keep a close eye on your Pokémon while they’re exploring.