The game was originally announced in 2018. No details were given then, but now we know the name, the region, and the starters. According to the game's director, Shigeru Ohmori, the development team is looking to create the "greatest Pokémon experience yet." Let's take a look at everything shown in the Direct.
Like every other main Pokémon game, the Switch title will be released in different versions. We have Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. The logos feature the title weapons and also a wolf-like head. The Legendary Pokémon associated with the titles do not appear in the footage shown. If we go by the logos, though, it seems like these Legendaries will be identical, perhaps even twins. Legendary Pokémon are typically linked to the title in some way. Pokémon Sun and Moon's Legendary creatures are linked to those celestial objects, as an example.
Perhaps these new Legendary Pokémon will use the weapon of choice or look like the shape of them. Maybe the names mean something deeper. For example, Sword might be an inherently aggressive type, while the Shield creature might be more of a protector. This is all rumor, of course, until we learn about the new Legendary Pokémon in these games.
In the last couple of games, we've had the star-shaped Kalos region, and the Hawaii-inspired Aloha region. Now, in Pokémon Sword and Shield, trainers will be visiting the Galar region. This region appears in part to be inspired by the United Kingdom.
Ohmori states Galar to be "an expansive region." Indeed, there will be modern cities, the countryside, and as you see on the map, a snow-covered area. It looks like trainers will be visiting diverse areas, a change of pace from the warm Aloha region of Pokémon Sun and Moon. The footage shows different areas, including a winter-covered city, and an underground mine. According to Ohmori, humans and Pokémon in the Galar region worked together to build the industrial sites in the game. Although gyms were absent in Sun and Moon, they will appear in the Galar region.
A staple of the Pokémon series is picking your very first Pokémon at the beginning of the game, known as a starter. The Direct unveiled Sword and Moon's starter Pokémon. Like always, we have a fire, water, and grass type.
First, we have the grass type: Grookey, the chimp Pokemon. Ohmori describes it as "mischievous." Indeed, we see this little guy playing the drum on a rock and scaring another starter. Next, we have the fire type: Scorbunny, the rabbit Pokémon. This one, as you can tell from the picture, is the most energetic of the trio. In the video, we see Scorbunny happily running around and looking confident. Lastly, we have the water type: Sobble, the water lizard Pokémon. Unlike Scorbunny, Sobble is on the timid side, and seems to be content with shooting its attacks while hidden in the water.
The Pokémon Twitter account has posted a poll about which starter Pokémon players are most interested in choosing. Interestingly, Scorbunny and Sobble seem to be equally popular. They are both ahead of Grookey by a large margin.
A new region means new Pokémon, and the Company promises "many more never-before-seen Pokémon." Surprisingly, aside from the starters, no new Pokémon were featured. However, a bunch of returning Pokémon appear.
Pikachu is back, and is shown battling a Minccino from Pokémon Black and White. Lucario also appears, along with Snorlax's pre-evolved form, Munchlax. HootHoot, Flygon, and Tyranitar also make appearances, plus some others. Generation 8 will feature plenty of new Pokémon, but it seems like a bunch of previous Pokémon will be here as well.
The Story and Gameplay
Like previous games in the franchise, you'll be able play as a male or female trainer. However, not much is revealed about the story. The only thing we do know is that your trainer will be working to become a Pokémon champion. In the trailer, there's a scene where the protagonist, wearing a sports-like uniform, is walking into an arena. Beyond this plot point, nothing else has been revealed. We don't know if there will be a Team Rocket-like antagonist or if there will be an overall conflict.
Gameplay appears identical to previous titles. Trainers are able to run around the region and fight NPCs. We see our trainer cautiously going through a grass area, where they are prompted by a wild Pokémon battle. Longtime players should feel right at home. Interestingly, no big new features were shown. However, Ohmori says the development team is "challenging" themselves to try new things. However, they haven't forgotten about what makes Pokémon noteworthy, so we can expect some new concepts in the new games.
It seems like 2019 is looking to be the year of Pokémon. A wide-release film called Detective Pikachu is coming to theaters in May and a new Japanese film bringing back Mewtwo is also on the way. Now, we know a lot more about Pokémon Sword and Shield, and it seems like they will be some of the most anticipated games of the year. That's not all, though: the President and CEO of the Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, says the Company has "plenty in the works for the Pokémon brand." It's a great year to be a fan.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will launch simultaneously in late 2019.