The Pokémon series began as a relatively bare-bones RPG, and over time, it’s changed to incorporate new features that have either lasted the test of time or been more a one-off experiment. Throughout the entire series, though, since Red and Blue, there’s been one game mechanic that’s endured, one that you’re so used to, you may not even realize how much it bugs you.
Remember in the first generation of games, when you’d enter Dark Cave only to realize that it’s… dark, too dark to really navigate? Remember how frustrating it was to forever lose a move slot to the HM Flash, whether that meant teaching it to one of your frequently used Pokémon or digging a Clefairy out of the PC? Well, starting with Sun and Moon, HM slaves will exist no more, because the inflexible HMs are being taken out of the game.
Still, HMs are capable of a lot in the non-battle overworld, so the question is how that functionality will be replaced. Will those moves maintain their functionality and just become TMs, like Rock Smash before it? Will certain Pokémon just be allowed to have this functionality anyway based on their physicality, like bird Pokémon knowing Fly, Machamp knowing Strength, or Lapras knowing Surf?
The Sun and Moon demo hints at how it could work: In the demo, players can use a device to conjure a Tauros, which can use an ability called Tauros Charge, which acts like Rock Smash or Strength. Who knows if calling on Pokémon like Ubers is the future of overworld powers, but we don’t have to wait that long to find out, since the games finally come out on November 18.