Players who spent hours trying to get a Shiny starter Pokémon in the old Pokémon games won't have to waste their time in Pokémon Sword & Shield, as a datamine has revealed that it will be impossible for the starter Pokémon to be Shiny.
Shiny Pokémon possess the same physical attributes and moves of their regular counterparts, with the only difference being their color palette and a sparkling animation effect that plays whenever they enter a battle. The people who hunt Shiny Pokémon need a considerable amount of free time, as the chances of breeding or catching one are 1/4096 in the most recent generations of Pokémon games. There are ways to increase the chances of encountering a Shiny Pokémon, but it will still take a long time to see one. It has been possible to acquire Shiny starter Pokémon in the past, but the player needs to keep resetting their game each time if the current crop of starters doesn't have what they are looking for.
It seems that the Shiny hunters of the Galar region won't need to try as hard as their predecessors, as a recent datamine of Pokémon Sword & Shield has revealed that the starter Pokémon are Shiny-locked. A Twitter user called mattyoukhana_ has been uploading information about Pokémon Sword & Shield and they have revealed that the starter Pokémon will never be Shiny.
It will still be possible to acquire Shiny versions of Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble through breeding, but the actual Pokémon you choose at the start of the game will never be Shiny.
Pokémon Black & White introduced the concept of the Shiny lock, which prevents specific Pokémon from ever being Shiny. It was impossible to encounter Shiny versions of Reshiram, Victini, and Zekrom, even though they had Shiny sprites in the game. The later games implemented Shiny locks on different Legendary Pokémon and the Pokémon: Let's Go games prevented the starter versions of Eevee or Pikachu from being Shiny, so there is a recent precedent for this decision.
Shiny hunting the starter Pokémon was one of the most grueling processes that any player could undertake, but the love for Shiny Pokémon is such that people would spend hours or days trying to find a different colored version of their favorite Pokémon. It will still be possible to breed Shiny versions of the starters in Pokémon Sword & Shield, but it won't be the same for many people.
Pokémon Sword & Shield will be released for the Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.