Pokémon Sword and Shield are getting closer every day. As more traditional Pokémon experiences on a home console, fans are excited to see what awaits them in the Galar Region. Just in time for E3 2019, Game Freak released a presentation showcasing new details and mechanics that players can expect in the games, on top of more all-new Pokémon that players will meet there. Naturally, there is a lot to unpack.
If you didn't watch the Pokémon Direct or want a debriefing on all the newly announced information, then keep reading for our 10 facts you need to know about Pokémon Sword and Shield.
10 NEW POKéMON
With any new Pokémon game comes the announcement of new Pokémon. There were a handful revealed for Sword and Shield with some interesting designs. There was Wooloo, the adorable sheep. There was Gossifleur, the gentle Grass-type, and its evolution, Eldegoss, which was seen in a gym battle.
Then there was the massive and dangerous Drednaw with a jaw that can crush through stone, as well as the sleek Corviknight. It seems that Game Freak is far from out of ideas when it comes to designing new Pokémon, and we're excited to see what more of them will look like in the run-up to release.
9 WILD AREA
Among the new locations in Pokémon Sword and Shield is the Wild Area. This seems to be the place to satisfy those who wanted a few more technical advancements in the Pokémon series.
Game Freak confirmed that the camera would be controllable in this area, and the Pokémon will roam in the overworld at the same time, bringing it more in line with the encounter system from Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee. With so many Pokémon moving in the overworld in real-time, it is bound to bring up speculation about partner Pokémon. We'll see if that becomes a feature in the future.
8 PEOPLE AND POKéMON
The footage for Pokémon Sword and Shield showed that Game Freak seems to be taking advantage of the Nintendo Switch's better hardware in a few ways. Among them is having Pokémon in the real world alongside people, similar to Detective Pikachu in many ways.
There was a Budew with a receptionist and even a Wynaut playing a form of hopscotch. In a world where Pokémon exist, it only makes sense that humans would find a way to integrate life with them. It's nice to see Sword and Shield, so far, going out of its way to show that. It contextualizes the adventure nicely.
More recent Pokémon games have introduced new battling mechanics that shake up how battles are approached. Gen VI introduced Mega Evolution and Gen VII introduced Z-Moves. It seems that this trend is continuing in Sword and Shield with the introduction of Dynamax.
Dynamax is a mechanic that make your Pokémon grow as tall as a building. This big power and visual boost only lasts three turns, so it's important to use it strategically. The massive Pokémon Gyms were also designed with Dynamax in mind, which is why they're so large. Time will tell if Dynamax is a welcome new feature or something players would rather forget.
6 MAX RAID BATTLES
Dynamax is a mechanic that isn't just taking over trainer battles, but wild encounters as well. Within the Wild Area, there are portals that can take trainers to fight a wild Dynamax Pokémon. This Pokémon stays Dynamax for the whole battle, so it'll take more than just high-leveled Pokémon to bring it down.
This is why Max Raid Battles can be completed with other trainers over local wireless or online play. Four trainers each select a Pokémon. After defeating the Dynamax Pokémon, it seems that trainers can then catch it. Some exclusive Pokémon will only be available through these raid battles.
5 CHAMPION LEON
While there weren't many new characters revealed for Pokémon Sword and Shield, we did get to see the Champion, Leon. Leon seems to have a larger-than-life personality and takes a lot of pride in how many victories he has under his belt. Leon also has a very memorable design and was already revealed to use a Charizard (seen standing behind him).
Further connecting him to the main story is his younger brother, Hop. Hop is the rival character and aspires to be just like his big brother. This provides ample reason for Hop to start his own Pokémon journey and want to be the best.
4 PROFESSOR MAGNOLIA
Alongside the Champion and a few other characters, the professor of the Galar Region was revealed. This time, Professor Magnolia will send trainers on their quest to become the best. Magnolia is different from any Pokémon professor before her, as she is an elderly woman, which we've never had in the franchise before.
Magnolia's granddaughter was also revealed to assist her work and will probably affect the player character in some capacity. She also walks around with a cane that has the design of a Pokémon that hasn't been revealed yet. Perhaps it is a tease about one of the bird Pokémon of that region?
3 ZACIAN AND ZAMAZENTA
While there were only seven Pokémon revealed in the Direct, two of them were the respective Legendary Pokémon for each game. As the logos hinted, these Pokémon are both wolves; one using a sword and the other using armor. These Pokémon were named Zacian and Zamazenta.
They both seem closely related and have designs that reflect one another, contrary to how other box Legendary Pokémon have contrasting designs. No other details were revealed about Zacian and Zamazenta regarding the lore behind them or what their role will be in the game's story, but all will be revealed in due time.
2 POSSIBLE VOICE ACTING
Game Freak didn't explicitly announce this, so take it with a grain of salt. Numerous shots in the trailer showed characters moving their lips in what appeared to be cutscenes. Without subtitles beneath them, the implication is that there will be voice acting in Pokémon Sword and Shield to some capacity.
If we had to guess, it would be along the lines of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild where the cutscenes had voice acting and the rest of the game had small vocal cues with mostly text to read. If this is the case, that would be a large step for the Pokémon series.
1 NOVEMBER 15, 2019
The final announcement from the Pokémon Direct was that Pokémon Sword and Shield would release worldwide on November 15, 2019. This puts it right at the sweet spot to become Nintendo's big holiday title for the year.
It will be interesting to see how other Nintendo games are spread throughout the year, as huge titles like Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion 3, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and several more are all set to come out this year as well. Sword and Shield will also get a double pack release,allowing fans to buy both copies of the game together. It will likely include some sort of exclusive bonus as well.