Whilst many drew comparisons to Digimon’s Mega Digivolution when we first learned of Mega Evolution being a new addition in Pokémon X & Y, such comparison is merely coincidental.
That’s according to director Junichi Masuda, who explained that evolution has long been “one of the defining characteristics of the games,” and that it served as an expansion to that.
“Game Freak really believed that the evolution, the concept of evolution, is one of the defining characteristics of the Pokemon games – it always has been, since the beginning,” Masuda began in his explanation to Kotaku. “With Pokemon X & Y we had three main themes, one was beauty, one was bonds, like the bonds between people and Pokemon, and the third was evolution.
“And so on the concept of evolution, we really wanted to take that defining characteristic with the series, and see if we could do something new with it, take it to the next level. But we knew that we had to keep the balance of the battles…after discussing with the team how we could do this, keep the battle balanced and introduce a new stage of evolution, we came up with the idea to require a held item—a mega stone—be held by the Pokemon, and also have mega evolutions be something that only happens during battles.
So what this does, it adds a bit more depth to the battles, because you have to hold this Mega stone in order to Mega evolve…that means you can’t hold another item that may be quite useful…so this kind of creates battles with even more depth.