Following the announcement of the eighth generation games Pokemon Sword & Shield for Nintendo Switch last week, a flood of rumours and theories have arisen, as is always the way.
Of these numerous theories, the most interesting (and likely) by far is that the new games will actually let us visit one of the older regions. This is something players haven’t been able to do in a Pokemon game since Gold & Silver, which gave players the chance to return to Kanto after beating all the gyms in Johto.
Let’s break down this rumour then. As you’re probably aware, Sword & Shield are set in a region called Galar. While it hasn’t been confirmed to be so, it has been widely assumed that this new region is actually based on the UK.
There are plenty of landmarks that mirror real life areas in the UK. Just take a look at the game’s map and you’ll see things that resemble the London Eye, Stonehenge, and the Cerne Abbas Giant chalk figure in Dorset.
Plus, the map is basically a very similar shape to the UK, as you can see below.
The theory goes that if Galar is indeed based on the UK, then the region we could see ourselves returning to is none other than the Kalos region, which was first seen in Pokemon X & Y for the 3DS.
As you may know, Kalos is a fictional representation of France, and given that the UK and France are pretty close in the real world, the idea is that we might just be able to catch a ride to the Kalos region at some point in Sword & Shield.
There is of course a little more to it than that though. A big part of the backstory in X & Y concerned a violent and bloody war centuries ago between Kalos and an unnamed region – a region fans now believe to be Galar, given the historically heavy past between France and the UK IRL.
Tying the two regions even closer together is the fact that a train system seems to be a prominent feature in Galar, Kalos also had a train station in its capital city (a reflection of Paris), although in X & Y the train really doesn’t feature heavily.
The idea is that the new games could see us catching a ride to Kalos via some kind of fictional representation of the Eurostar, a train service that runs choo choos underneath the Channel between London and Paris.
Side note, I got stuck on one such train about halfway through for several hours. Being stuck in a small narrow tube underneath the sea isn’t a barrel of laughs, as it turns out.
These theories are purely speculative of course, but given multiple regions has been a requested feature in Pokemon since Gold & Silver did it all those years ago, I’d be surprised if it didn’t finally make a return.
If nothing else, it makes sense to get the most out of the Switch hardware by squeezing in more than we’d get in a 3DS Pokemon game.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.