After more than two decades of taking the world by storm, Nintendo is releasing the eighth generation of Pokémon games: Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. The new games, which comes out on November 15 2019, takes place in the Galar region, which is based on the United Kingdom. Unlike previous games, Sword and Shield will be the first Pokémon games on the Nintendo Switch console. Pokémon fans around the world have been waiting for months for this new release, and finally, it’s out. Here are some things that are known about the newest addition to the Pokémon franchise:
With every new region comes a new set of starter Pokémon; the first Pokémon that each player receives at the beginning of the game. The options for the partner that will stick by each player’s side is Grookey, a grass type Pokémon who resembles a monkey, Scorbunny, a rabbit-like fire type, and Sobble, a water type who looks like a lizard.
Sometimes when a new region, which is the location where each new storyline takes place, is released, Pokémon from previous regions will have new evolved forms, or a new Pokémon will be released that evolves into an already existing Pokémon. One confirmed evolution is Obstagoon, the evolved form of Linoone, who was first introduced in the third generation(Hoenn region).
Images have been leaked for other evolutions of previously existing Pokémon, but it is not known for sure if they are real or fan-made. Boardgame News’ website has the possible evolutions that could be in Pokémon Sword and Shield:
Sunflora, Granbull, Shuckle, Mantine, Heracross, Ledian, Wobbuffet, Ariados, and Lanturn may evolve once. Sudowudo, Noctowl, Girafarig, and Flaafy may get a branched evolution, meaning that they could evolve into one of two different Pokémon based on certain circumstances. Delibird and Sneasel may get pre-evolved forms (a new Pokémon that evolves into the currently existing Pokémon), and Dunsparce may evolve twice.
Every new Pokémon generation always has new legendary Pokémon; Two games are released for each generation, and each one has a main legendary Pokémon.
In the Galar Region’s case, these two Pokémon are Zacian and Zamazenta, who both resemble wolves. Zacian, who is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, is blue, and holds a sword in its mouth. Zamazenta, who is only in Pokémon Shield, is red, and seems to have armor-like plates surrounding its face and sides.
In a Pokémon Direct released by Nintendo, there is a short clip involving these two Pokémon. In the video, Zacian runs at Zamazenta and seems to attack it, and then the two of them look at each other for a few moments before standing back to back after a sudden noise is heard. Zacian’s sword grows bigger, and the armor around Zamazenta’s sides opens to form a shield around its head.
Based on the video, the two legendary Pokémon may be rivals, or they were simply sparring. Either way, there might be a bigger foe that they could have to join forces against during the storyline of the two games.
A new battle feature has been added to the new games. Newsweek’s article explains all about this new feature, called Dynamax. Dynamaxing means that players can make one of their Pokémon become really big, and its attacks will be much more powerful. The Pokémon will revert back to normal after three turns, though, so players will have to be careful as to when in battle to use it. Newsweek also states that a trainer will need to get an item called a Dynamax Band during the game: this item will allow players to enable their Pokémon to Dynamax.
Newsweek additionally explains that a new battle mode called Max Raid Battles will be added as well. The objective of Max Raid Battles, like normal wild Pokémon battles, is to catch the Pokémon. In this mode, a player can team up with up to three others, whether they are other people or NPCs (Non-Player Characters) and face off against a wild Dynamax Pokémon. The wild Pokémon will stay Dynamaxed during the entire battle though, which makes it harder to catch. Players can Dynamax their own Pokémon during the battle, but only one of them will be able to do this.
Pokémon Sword and Shield also have new items and features that can be used during gameplay. The Dynamax Band has already been covered, but Polygon mentions a few others:
There is a bike that can traverse water, and Corviknight, a new Pokémon mentioned before, will be able to fly players to other parts of the region via Corviknight taxis. Possible outfit customization may be added, although this is not confirmed, and a Rotom Phone is added to the games. (more info below)
One of the new features in Pokémon Sword and Shield is the Rotom Phone, which doubles as a Pokédex, which is a device featured in every game that records data about Pokémon once new Pokémon are encountered or caught. An objective of all Pokémon games, although not required to complete the story, is to fill the Pokédex by catching every single Pokémon.
Rotom is a Pokémon that can take on new forms by going into technology. A new feature in the Generation Seven games was the Rotom Pokédex, where Rotom would go into the player’s Pokédex, enabling them to take pictures, and when clicked on, Rotom could talk to the player. A Rotom Phone is likely similar, but Rotom goes into a smartphone rather than a Pokédex.
Pokémon Sword and Shield has something new that no other Pokémon game has: the Wild Area. According to Nintendo, it is a “…vast expanse of land in the Galar region with untamed wilderness,” and “Trainers will find a greater variety of Pokémon living in the Wild Area than anywhere else on the Galar region.” Unlike previous games, the player can control the camera in the Wild Area. Nintendo also explains that the Pokémon species that are encountered each time will differ according to factors such as the weather. Based on images of the Wild Area, as well as Nintendo’s article, Pokémon can be seen walking around; this could mean that players can walk up to them and begin a battle sequence rather than getting ambushed in the grass. Unfortunately, it is unknown whether this can take place all over the Galar region, or just in the Wild Area.
Gigantamax is another new feature of Sword and Shield. According to Venturebeat, Gigantamax is similar to Dynamax because it makes Pokémon much bigger. Unlike Dynamax, however, their appearance changes as well. Gigantamax is also only available for a select number of Pokémon, similar to Mega Evolutions, which were introduced in Generation Six.
In the Alola Region, from Generation Seven, some already existing Pokémon had a different appearance based on whether or not they lived in the Alola region. In Sword and Shield, some Pokémon have Galarian forms that are exclusive to the Galar region. Alolan form Pokémon, and likely Galarian form Pokémon as well, sometimes had a different type than the original Pokémon. Some of the Pokémon that are confirmed to be getting Galarian forms include Ponyta, Weezing, Zigzagoon, and Linoone.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is finally upon us. These new additions to the Pokémon franchise, with its new Pokémon, new features, and the return of Pokémon Gyms, these two games have definitely been worth the long wait. If they do well, Nintendo may even make remakes of them in the future, like they have done for Generations One, Two, Three, Five, and Seven. Who knows? A ninth generation may be on its way in a few years. Either way, millions of people around the world are very excited for the new games, and now, everyone can all see them for themselves.