Pokémon Sword and Shield Announced for Nintendo Switch

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The diverse terrain of Galar.

The diverse terrain of Galar.

In a special Nintendo Direct earlier this week, Nintendo revealed the next entries in the main Pokémon series, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, for the Nintendo Switch.

On the heels of Pokémon: Let’s Go, the Pokémon Go-inspired spinoff that released for the Switch last year, Sword and Shield will be available late in 2019. While the graphics appear identical to those of Let’s Go, it appears that Sword and Shield will return to the battle and catch mechanics of the previous titles. The announcement trailer also included trainer battles, character customization, and Gyms.

One of the biggest reveals is that Sword and Shield will take place in the Galar region, whose pastoral farms and snowy mountains are a direct contrast to the sunny beaches of the Hawaii-inspired Alola from Pokémon Sun and Moon. Bustling cities filled with brick buildings and heavy machinery evoke a more industrialized, European feel than the settings we’ve explored in the past. And like all regions in the Pokémon series, Galar will have its own unique Pokémon to battle and befriend.

Meet your adorable, new best friends.

Meet your adorable, new best friends.

For Generation 8, players will choose between three new starters: Grookey (grass), a mischievous chimp; Scorbunny (fire), an energetic rabbit; or Sobble (water), a timid water-lizard. No other new Pokémon were revealed at this time, but the presence of series favorites like Pikachu and Munchlax in the trailer suggest they’ll be included in this generation as well. Personally, I’m hoping to see a few Galar versions of the original 151 - even though I doubt they’ll top the sheer absurdity of the Alolan Exeggutor.

That’s about all we know at the moment, although I think details will slowly emerge now that the big announcement has been made. I expect familiar features like trading, friend battles, and breeding to be present in this new entry, and hope that mechanics introduced in Sun and Moon, such as Pokémon Refresh, return as well. While it doesn’t appear to be shaking things up for the franchise, I think Pokémon Sword and Shield looks like it’s going to be exactly what fans want it to be - a fun, fresh adventure alongside friends both new and familiar.