GAME FREAK has teased fans new information on Pokémon Sword and Shield in a recent video, and one of the newest features leaves possibility for something prevalent in the Nintendo DS era.
Set for an Autumn release date, Pokémon Sword and Shield Versions will be the next installment in the series; directly following 2017's Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon for Nintendo 3DS, and 2018's Let's Go Pikachu/Let's Go Eevee for Nintendo Switch. Longtime players of Pokemon will also know that the Galar region of Sword and Shield is not the first installment to directly stem ideas from European culture (e.g. football stadium gyms, the adorable Yamper -- an homage to Queen Elizabeth's corgis, and the new Weezing's smokestacks and top hat). 2013's X and Y versions' Kalos region makes nods to the Eiffel Tower (the Prism Tower) in the same way that 2016's Sun and Moon takes inspiration from Hawaii, and so on.
Sword And Shield's Neat New Feature
In that same light, however, the message released from GAME FREAK tells us that there will be more ways to get around in Galar than anticipated. In part with the "Flying Taxi" services of Corviknights, and being able to freely walk around the region, Sword and Shield will also feature railway stations, a staple in E.U. travel. Though the names of Galarian towns and our beloved starter evolutions have been kept under wraps in the trailers, this small hint alone makes way for some large possibilities. Possibilities which may even be able to excite fans in the wake of Nintendo leaving behind Mega-Evolutions (introduced in X and Y), Z-moves (from Sun and Moon), and arguably the most painful of all, the lack of a National Pokedex– a feature conceived in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl that was akin to the franchise's original "Gotta Catch 'Em All!" slogan. Without the presence of a National 'Dex, it becomes apparent that not every Pokemon will be able to transfer into the future games, if at all. Some players and veterans are left scathing at this idea altogether, and for some good reasons.
Director of Pokemon Sword and Shield Shigeru Ohmori briefly states in the video that the railway stations are present "all over the (Galar) region," and "used by all sorts of people as transporting for both commuting, and traveling for pleasure." Unpacking this message, we can start to imagine this dichotomy of avatars and NPC's traveling with a purpose in mind (i.e. perhaps rivals, Team Yell goons, and others trying "to be the very best, that no one ever was") and then those who are traveling to travel– with all the wanderlust of someone in a study abroad program; potentially seeking trades, giving items, and other Easter eggs along the way. In other ways, however, GAME FREAK could also be bringing back an unexpected featured from 2010's Pokemon Black and Pokemon White versions: the Battle Subway system.
The Battle Subway
The Battle Subway in the Unova region was adjacent to the Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh regions' respective "Battle Towers," with the idea of having multiple modes of play (i.e. Riding the Green Line for Single Battles, Red for Double, etc.) with higher stakes (and rewards) as the player rises through the ranks, and as is suggested with all things Pokemon, grandiose challengers waiting at the end of the tunnel.
Like its predecessors Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon Black and White made headway with using the technology of its time. Nintendo WiFi allowed players to hook up for co-op battle lines and display battle records. That said, players were unfortunately unable to gain experience points from their W's, legendary Pokemon were banned, and the battles HAD to happen and SAVE consecutively; suffice to say, it gave players some post-game freedoms, but still limited the ability of what they were able to do.
Subway To Train Seems Obvious
If fans' negative reception of omitting certain Pokemon and moves (Mega-evolutions, Z moves, and otherwise) is any indicator of how an underwhelming Galarian Battle Subway could pan out for GAME FREAK and Nintendo (if it happens), it serves to say that Pokemon should try and redeem itself. A modern, and more organic twist on the 2010 subway system could be just the thing that the Galar region needs to build some excitement again. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield make their way to stores November 2019, and it should do whatever it can to embrace both the unconventionality, and all the software power of the Nintendo Switch.