Nintendo Pokemon

Sun And Moon Developers Talk About The End Of Pokémon Gyms

Pokémon Sun and Moon really broke away from the traditional formula by removing Gyms Leaders. While they have been with the series since Pokémon Red and Blue, the seventh generation seems to tried to mix things up. However, the developers have claimed this was an incredibly difficult thing to do. In an interview with Famitsu, director Shigeru Ohmori and series producer Junichi Masuda discussed the new Trial system and the end of Gym Leaders. You can read the full interview here.

Moving on, what aspects of Sun and Moon did you two find to be challenging to implement?

Ohmori – For me it was the Trials. In typical Pokemon games there are a series of Gyms that you have to defeat, but we decided to try changing the formula completely for Sun and Moon. We redid the internal systems many, many times, working diligently to finalize them up until the very end of development. The Gym battles in previous games focused on the ‘trainer vs. trainer’ aspect, but this time we wanted the Pokemon themselves to take a more active role. We started with that simple thought in mind, but in the end they turned out to be much more difficult to implement than we ever imagined.(laughs)

The Gym battle format from previous games had been perfected, after all.

Ohmori – That’s right. If we changed one thing even slightly, it would have a drastic effect on many different levels. Those kinds of adjustments couldn’t be made lightly. But despite the doubts we had about whether or not we should make those changes, we were determined to take the plunge. This might sound a little boastful, but our previous games were very well designed, and it took a lot of courage for us to take a break apart a working formula. So, even we had our own Trials to overcome (laughs).

Masuda – Gym battles were kind of like checkpoints within the games. Once you were powerful enough, you would go and fight the gym leader, and win their badge. It was like getting a certificate showing you had made progress. We had a lot of discussions about the Trials, as we were worried they would feel too much like wild Pokemon battles if they didn’t have that same sense of progression. The team must have worked tirelessly to find a system that fit that requirement.



  1. I hope gyms come back (even if they aren’t necessary to the story) Ive always wished that they would make more than 8 gyms so that you could do different ones like in the anime. They could have gyms that give you items, tms, or even the badges could act as keys to get to specific extra areas (high level trainers, rare Pokémon, legendaries, etc)

    1. Gym Badges already did that latter part since you needed a certain badge to use certain HMs outside of battle. Otherwise, you couldn’t progress the game.

    1. Probably not. They said the trials were really hard to come up with, so I imagine in future games we’ll be back to gyms with some elements of trials carried over.

    2. That’s a total deal breaker for me. I thought I didn’t like the new creature ripoffs, but once I heard that they were ending Gym Battle’s, I was 100% over it.

      If* I need to update because they don’t make a proper remake of blue/red or silver/gold then I would just buy it second hand and as cheap as available. Move up my Oldies but Goldie’s and be done with it.

      1. I don’t think you need to worry about gyms being omitted in a Red and Blue remake, or even a Gold/Silver/Crystal remake since they were so ingrained to the plot and method of progression. But I also don’t think you need to worry about a R/B/G/S/C remake anytime soon since those gens already got them. If trends continue, gen 4 (Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum) are next due for remakes.

        1. I wasn’t worried about anything. Simply stating my opinion on the current state of the franchise. I wasn’t asking, I was telling. All I want is an updated version of Blue with all the extras of the new game’s. None of the ultra beast crap, leave out the mega evolutions and I’m gravy.

            1. I’m simply what I am. I started with the original Blue version, suxked into a vortex of raising six little monsters that could stomp all my best friend’s. Link cables and all, it was the best thing at that time. Things in the games now feel to over evolved if that makes sense. More realistically I’m probably just over what the series has become. And that’s ok, you can let go of things you love. It’s nature.

  2. It works for this island themed region, but probably shouldn’t be a permanent replacement for future games. Would be cool if both trials and gyms existed together.

  3. What are people all over gyms now? Pre 2106, everyone was hammering on about how sick they were of them.

    1. Apparently it was only some of us. I expect Breath of the Wild to eventually have it’s own detractors that hate the huge departure from the Zelda norm of past entries. In fact, I saw a few months back when we first heard BotW was changing a lot of things.

  4. Not the first time. Pokemon xD did not feature then and I consider it the best Pokemon after b2w2 along with Pokemon hgss

  5. The trials were a fun scenario with a battle at the end. The gyms in the other games are fun scenarios with a battle at the end. If this was them “breaking apart” their formula, then I guess I should bury my hopes for ever getting a main-series pokemon game that isn’t a modernized version of red/blue.

  6. Here is a good idea Keep the totem idea and mix it in with a gym battle. so there can be gyms and Trails in one. Boost up the AI and keep the handicap battle style. First you would beat the totem then test your skill in a one on one battle with the leader. It felt like the captains were just there it would be cool if we could battle them honestly. The gym system can stay but you can make it like that i suppose.

      1. I may have left pokemon but this formula makes alot of sense and would make the game alot more challenging.

  7. Grunty loves this game with all her heart.
    Pokemon Sun and I will never depart.

    I am glad the game is hard enough
    when I lose then Grunty will shout and puff!!

    I find it difficult the HM Fly
    is no longer available I thought it was a lie
    But as I played and found out Grunty almost cried.

  8. The gym battle system has been one I think should be revised for years now. The formula was just getting boring.

    I honestly wish they could come up with new systems to fit future environments. I just find gyms boring and stale now.

  9. Honestly Pokemon is way too easy now they need to bring the challenge level up again. I’m overpowered in sun and Moon and I haven’t even done any grinding at all. They gta make it harder to level up or sumtin lol just playing through the first trial I’m already almost level 20 with my starter and the others are pretty close too

    1. You can really only overlevel like that with Exp. Share on. Which you should turn off you want any kind of challenge.

      That really should be commonly known by now though. Exp Share basically enables the super easy mode ever since they made it completely op in gen 6.

      1. Lol you got a good point there. I like exp share tho i can avoid hours of grinding that way. Turning it off wouldn’t make it any more challenging. If they made the AI smarter that would be great

        1. Trust me, this is probably the hardest gen yet.
          The AI is better as well I have seen them do at least some scriptet tactics, way better than previous gens.

          That doesn’t matter though if you just destroy everything because of your level.

          I should be at around half of the game right now.
          I have never used exp share and didn’t ever grind either. I’m still at around the level of the enemys…

          I would just turn off exp share and only temporarily turn it on when you are starting to become underleveled.

          1. That’s actually exactly what I did and intend to do when I start falling behind thanks lol I just got burned out on the older generations from all the grinding so that’s why I like exp share. Don’t have as much time as I used to lol

  10. I really haven’t enjoyed Pokémon Sun. I hate the trials and want gyms back. But I also wish it was harder, red and blue were tough and you had lots of battles. This new stuff is easy and I hate the trials!!! Give me a Red remake please!

  11. I enjoyed it overall don’t think the post game content was as good as oras the ultra beast were a little of course but I did like the design of those new Pokemon’s the trails were unexpected but were to short in my opinion but what I find interesting is in Pokemon sun an moon in the player card there was only suppose to be 7 trails right?? Why is there 15 pages also the fact you can get both legendaryss with your trainer name is a nice touch I beat the game and completed half the Pokédex in maybe 16 hours :/ and there poke Dex being shorten to 300 pokes is little boring but over all was a pretty easy an simple game glad mega evolutions were still present but I miss some of the old feature like the underground mining for gems shards and fossils or the secret tree bases or the Pokédex layout from x and y idk think sun an moon was designed more for marketing aspect to attract newer generations.

  12. I’m glad gyms are gone forever it gets boring doing the same thing over and over. “Oh look at me I beat 8 gyms now I’m going to fight the elite four and champion.” big wolf. They need a change in the game series about time.

  13. “but this time we wanted the Pokemon themselves to take a more active role.”

    It’s a game where all you do is fight Pokemon/use them in battle. How more active do you need them to get. Hell, you already have Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and PokePark. If anyone is inactive its that trainer. How, well lets just say the your average Big Bad (since apparently no Pokemon is evil and are innocent angels) is pathetic and defenseless without their Pokemon. Also, many of scratched our heads over how Pokemon Trainer could be playable in SSB (when first revealed). But you know who WAS the first playable character to rep Pokemon in SSB? Pikachu, and active Pokemon!

    And as far as Gym Leaders go this generation, as far as I’m concerned:

    Ilima, Lana, Kiawe, Mallow, Sophocles, Mina, Hapu, Nanu.

    Elite Four: Hala, Olivia, Acerola, Kahili


  14. So some are bitching about the removal of gyms that were sadly getting stale anyway already? *shrug* Oh well. It’s their opinion so they are welcome to it. Least I’ll enjoy the trials! Maybe the next games will mix up gyms with trials. If the third game in this gen ends up on Switch & ends up being a sequel to Sun & Moon, hopefully it will do just that & have gyms being built to revolve around the trials ending with the usual Gym Leader Battle at the end. Only time will tell.

    Oh & it doesn’t surprise me at all that they had trouble with being original with how you progress in the game & trying to break away from tradition. Just another point to add to GameFreak being amateurs. That or they have grown so use to the traditional way that trying to break away from that was difficult. This is what happens when you don’t try to break away from tradition after over 15 years of doing the same thing over & over. Anyway, if they don’t try to flee back to tradition with the next installment, doing the trial thing should be easier the next time around. Then again, these are the same guys that ditched the 3D effect in Sun & Moon because they couldn’t get use to it in X & Y or improve it in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. Plus, it would go along with another annoying tradition they just can’t seem to stay the fuck away from: getting rid of shit people liked in a previous gen with the next gen games. Like secret bases from Ruby/Sapphire, letting the first Pokemon in your team follow you around outside it’s Pokeball from Heart Gold/Soul Silver, or the mining stuff from Diamond & Pearl that brought back secret bases.

  15. I agree, plus the rumor that the only way to access the national fed is through Pokémon bank, that will be truly disappointing, along with the fact that ever since Diamond pearl and platinum (minus remakes) they continue to take away the feature to rebattle trainers, I always enjoyed re-fighting trainers to see what new and higher level Pokémon they have, plus it’s a nice break from having to either grind weak wild Pokémon or the elite four for exp.

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