A bevy of new Pokemon Sword & Shield details were just announced in a dedicated Pokemon Nintendo Direct. During the 15 minute presentation, we got a look a new Pokemon, characters, and locations.
Perhaps the biggest and most welcome reveal during the Direct was the fact that Sword & Shield will make full and proper use of the Nintendo Switch’s power by allowing players to explore wide open spaces in which wild Pokemon roam freely, in a similar fashion to Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee.
Developer Game Freak referred to the areas in between the towns and cities as “Wild Areas.” It’s here that Sword & Shield started to resemble an open world game in the spirit of Breath of the Wild, as players will be able to freely control the camera (a first for the series), and explore massive forests, deserts, lakes, and more to track down wild monsters.
The trailer showed (among other things) Rhydon stomping through a sandstorm, Gyrados swimming in a lake, and Butterfree gently flapping across a green meadow. It’s unclear whether these Wild Areas and their roaming Pokemon will completely replace random battles, or if the game will blend both classic and newer systems accordingly. I suspect the latter.
Being able to move through the areas between towns completely freely, rather than trudge down a set path will be welcome change of pace for the series, and brings us one step closer to the truly open world Pokemon game we so desperately crave.
The Direct also confirmed that the franchise will be returning to more traditional Pokemon Gyms, champions, and rivals, following Sun & Moon trying something a little different in that area. Gyms in the Galar region look to be more full of life than we’ve ever seen before, with massive crowds of cheering fans as battles take place in huge stadiums.
In another bizarre twist, it looks like Pokemon Sword & Shield will feature supersized versions of regular Pokemon. It’s known as Dynamaxing, and is a brand new battle mechanic that allows Pokemon to grow many times their original size.
While in Dynamax form, Pokemon will get a max boost in their attack moves. Much like Mega Evolutions, a Pokemon can only Dynamax once per battle. Gym Leaders will also be able to use Dynamax Pokemon, which should lead to some fairly interesting battles.
A slew of new Pokemon were also revealed. My personal favourite is a sheep Pokemon that has brilliantly been named Wooloo, but there’s also a slick looking bird type called Corviknight, a crustacean called Drednaw, and a grass type called Gossofleur that evolves into Eldegoss.
We also got a quick look at the game’s legendary Pokemon; Zacian and Zamazenta. Both are wolves, and one carries a sword while the other seems to wear a type of shield around its neck. Check them out below.
Finally, we received confirmation that Pokemon Sword & Shield will arrive on Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2018. I’m coming for YOU, Wooloo.
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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.