This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Nintendo has told us to expect Pokémon Sword and Shield in November 2019. These new Pokemon games for Nintendo Switch will usher in the next era of pocket monster adventures. In terms of actual details, a special live stream dubbed Pokémon Direct took place in February and furnished us with all sorts of info. Then another Pokémon Direct video appeared in June to show off some more cool stuff.
These games will take players to a brand new region called Galar (which seems to be inspired by the UK) to encounter the eighth generation of Pokémon, which will be music to the ears of longtime fans that have been longing for something fresh from the franchise.
If you’re looking to learn more about Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, read on to discover everything that we know…
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Trailers
The best way to get your head around Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is to watch the video above, in which the big cheeses from Nintendo and Game Freak explain what the game is as well as showing off loads of gameplay footage.
This video, which was live-streamed around the web in February, provided our first look at Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield and essentially served as the game’s first trailer. Another video along these lines arrived online in June, adding lots of extra details, and it can be viewed at this link.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Introduces a New Region Called Galar
The region where Pokémon Sword and Shield will be set is called Galar, and Game Freak’s Shigeru Ohmori, who is directing the games, has described it thusly: “Galar is an expansive region with many environments, containing idyllic countryside and contemporary cities, vast planes and craggy snow-covered mountains.”
Galar features something called the Wild Area, which is a new addition to the franchise. This wilderness between towns and cities is the ideal place to hunt for Pokémon, and the game even allows you to take control of the camera viewpoint to search for critters in the Wild Area’s hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Weather conditions will affect which Pokémon you find.
And, as for the sort of society that exists in Galar, Shigeru Ohmori has said this: “The people and Pokémon live here, and they’ve worked together to develop the industries in the region.” Interestingly, the Detective Pikachu movie also features a society where people and Pokémon live and work together.
One way in which Sword and Shield will develop this idea of humans working with their critter companions involves a new sheep-like Pokémon named Wooloo, whose fur is used by its owners to create highly sought-after clothing items. Galar seems to be a region where Pokémon have a bit more of a function beyond just battling.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Starter Pokemon
As is common in Pokémon games, you’ll get a choice of three Pokémon at the start of your adventure. Here’s how Game Freak’s Shigeru Ohmori describes the options that you’ll be presented with by Pokémon Sword and Shield:
“The chimp Pokémon Grookey – this mischevious Pokémon is full of boundless curiosity. The rabbit Pokémon Scorbunny, which is always running around – bursting with energy! And the water-lizard Pokémon Sobble – a bit timid, shooting out attacks as it hides itself in the water.”
Grookey looks to be a grass-type, Scorbunny seems fiery and Sobble is blatantly a water dweller. This means that, essentially, these new games will feature the classic ‘which character do you prefer?’ versus ‘which type of moves do you want?’ toss-up that we were first presented with by Professor Oak in the first generation games.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Story
“Here in the region, you’ll visit gyms with the newly discovered Pokémon that you choose to be your first partner, aiming for the enviable and admirable title of champion.”
Those words, spoken by director Shigeru Ohmori during Pokémon Direct, describe the basic plot elements of Sword and Shield. They are also, essentially, a fairly accurate description of the story structure in most Pokémon games. Nintendo and Game Freak don’t seem to be reinventing the wheel in that particular regard this time around.
In the footage from Pokémon Direct, there was a very dramatic shot of your trainer – who you can choose to be either male or female – walking into a sizeable stadium. It has also been revealed that massive gyms like this one play host to some epic new forms battling.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Introduces the Dynamax System
When it comes to gameplay, Pokémon Sword and Shield will add something fairly massive to the battling experience: your trainer is able to use a device on their wrist to activate the Dynamax system, which makes their Pokémon grow to giant size and enhances their powers significantly.
The Dynamax system comes with a catch, though. You can only use it once per battle, and it only lasts for three turns. Your opponents can use it, too, so you’ll need to choose wisely if you don’t want to squander a potential advantage.
We’ve also heard that Sword and Shield are being designed with handheld play in mind, rather than encouraging you to dock the console at home. However, we’d wager that giant-sized battles will look pretty snazzy on your big screen TV regardless.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Multiplayer
Pokémon RPGs are mainly single-player experiences, of course, but the idea of linking up with other players has been there since the very start of the franchise. And in Pokémon Sword and Shield, Game Freak is expanding its multiplayer offering significantly.
This game will allow you to link up with your pals, through either the Nintendo Switch’s local Bluetooth or a standard internet connection, to tackle gargantuan beasts. Dynamax-assisted creatures will be out in the wild, and you’ll be able to join up with other trainers to battle them in groups of four.
This will be Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s version of a raid battle, essentially, which is a concept that the Pokémon franchise previously explored in Pokémon Go. Also, you’ll be able to summon giant holographic Pokéballs to try and catch these big beasties, which should be fun.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Graphics Upgrade
As for graphics, it looks like Nintendo and Game Freak heard and took note of all the chatter among fans that it would be cool for the next Pokémon game to offer a similar uptick in visual quality to the one that Breath Of The Wild gave the Legend Of Zelda series.
What’s really striking about the gameplay footage from Pokémon Direct is the depth of field in certain shots. There’s a real sense of a foreground and a background being connected, in screengrabs like the one above, which gives the game a less short-sighted feel than some of its predecessors in the franchise. And this isn’t even the final version of the game, as a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen stresses.
There are also some impressive weather conditions in the footage, including a really eye-catching shot of a trainer running through falling snow. This franchise has certainly come a long way since the top-down Game Boy days.
Interestingly, though, the characters and their creatures look just as cartoonish in this footage as they did in Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee. These aren’t, thankfully, the hyper-real furry Pokémon that we’ve seen in the trailers for that Detective Pikachu movie.
You Should Be Able to Take Your Old Pokémon with You
The Pokémon Company recently announced a digital product called Pokémon Home, which will launch next year. It’s described as “a new cloud service app that enables [players] to continue their Pokémon adventures beyond a single game system and manage their collection of Pokémon across many of their games.”
Pokémon Home will connect with the 3DS-era Pokémon Bank platform as well as Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu, Pokémon Let’s Go: Eevee, Pokémon GO, and Pokémon Sword and Shield. When the service launches in 2020, it should provide us with a helpful assist when it comes to actually catching ’em all.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Legendaries – Meet Zacian and Zamazenta
A few new Pokémon have already been announced for Sword and Shield, with Grookey, Scorbunny, Sobble, Wooloo, Drednaw, Corviknight, Gossifleur, and Eldegloss being among them. But meeting a new pair of box-art-adorning legendary Pokémon is always a particularly special treat, which is why we’re keen to chat about Zacian and Zamazenta.
These two are the legendaries you’ll see on the boxes for Sword and Shield, with Zacian being the sword-wielding one and Zamazenta the one with a shield for a face. It’s not clear yet what type of powers they have, or how they will factor into the story, but at least we know now that the sword and shield of the title aren’t just figurative.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Release Date
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will launch worldwide simultaneously on Nov. 15, 2019. Until then, as we hear more about these games, you can bet that we’ll keep you updated. This article will evolve over time, as more details come to light.
In the meantime, please feel free to leave your own wishes for the game in the comments below…