An Italian fansite recently interviewed Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori, game director and game designer of Game Freak respectively, on Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
It is, or should be, common knowledge that the highly anticipated battle facility, the Battle Frontier, does not make a return in the Hoenn remakes.
According to the interview, the Battle Frontier as well as the difficulty setting from Black 2 and White 2 are not present in ORAS because "a very small part of the players would have fully appreciated and made use of this feature; nowadays players get bored and frustrated more easily and they aren't interested in things that are so demanding/challenging."
They wanted to create "a "balanced" game that was suited for our time and age, where everyone is very busy and young people have various means of entertainment. Using smartphones and other devices they can access a great number of games, so the time they dedicate to a single game is less than in the past."
Keep in mind that this specific interview was translated from Japanese to Italian then into English. There's more than likely some substance that's been lost. If the translations are mostly accurate and this is what Game Freak intended and becomes a trend, then I think I'll be starting to pack my bags and bid adieu to this beloved franchise.
I enjoyed playing Alpha Sapphire, but as someone who has not missed buying a Pokemon game since Diamond and Pearl, salt has definitely accumulated from the times when some of my favorite features were removed from its successors for bullshit reasons. I wouldn't have been this salty if it weren't for three things:
1) NPCs downright mention the Battle Frontier as a work in progress as well as mentioning Frontier Brains
2) The Frontier Brain music plays in the Battle Maison, the basic Battle Tower-esque facility from X & Y that takes its place.
3) If Heart Gold and Soul Silver have a Battle Frontier, then so should the remakes of the games that introduced it.*
*HGSS integrated Crystal's story elements, ORAS should have done the same with Emerald's BF considering a 'Delta Emerald' remake is highly unlikely.
It can be argued that the recent rise in quick, pick up and play mobile games pose a threat to handheld gaming. However, deliberately excluding post-game content and the option to make the game a bit more challenging is absurd and does not help compete with the mobile market. It only hinders the game and makes your fans frustrated, especially considering a huge chunk of those who were looking forward to the Hoenn remakes are adults that played the originals over a decade ago and would have greatly appreciated if the games were tougher and didn't remove arguably one of the best post-game pastimes in any Pokemon game.
Pokemon games are still guaranteed to be the best selling games of a Nintendo handheld, but if Game Freak continues this 'one step forward, two steps backwards' attitude, then it'll be much more difficult to lure the older fans who are getting tired of the same formula but prettier graphics routine. Online competitive battles are stronger than ever and I admit that it's my #1 reason of buying the next new Pokemon game, but I understand that many fans are not into it. Many fans play Pokemon games for the single player experience, and it's a damn shame to say that the 6th Generation games (X & Y, ORAS) has delivered a pretty lackluster single player. ORAS has more optional and post-game content than X & Y, which is appreciated, but it could have easily been so much more with the Battle Frontier.