Pokemon Sword and Shield Are Designed for Handheld Play

Marking a change in Nintendo's intentions for Pokémon on Switch, Sword and Shield are meant to played on the go...

Pokemon Sword and Shield Handheld

In an interesting change of tact from Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokémon company, it’s sounding like Pokémon Sword and Shield are being designed with the Nintendo Switch’s portable mode as its main focus.

The previous console-based games in the series – which were Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee – were designed with playing at home in mind. In the Let’s Go games, you could throw Pokéballs using your Joy-con and participate in couch co-op by letting a partner join your game as a “support trainer.”

Pokémon Sword and Shield will take a different approach, it seems, refocusing the franchise on its handheld origins. This makes a certain amount of sense, considering that many of us fell in love with Pokémon by squinting at our Game Boys in the back of a car.

The source for this story is Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, who is quoted by Nintendo Life as saying this in an earnings report:

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Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, which were released in November of last year, are designed to highlight the fun of Nintendo Switch in TV mode, for example by waving the controller at the TV screen to capture Pokémon. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are being developed to emphasize the fun of playing Nintendo Switch in handheld mode.

It’ll be interesting to see how this change in focus manifests. We’re hoping that the Sword and Shield games will become another example of the Switch’s commuter-friendly approach to gaming. We’ll make sure to keep you updated as we hear more.

Pokemon Sword and Shield are scheduled to release this fall.