After months of silence following the initial reveal, Pokémon fans were finally treated to more details about the forthcoming Pokémon Sword & Shield for Nintendo Switch, and there was very big reveals in the early morning presentation!
While Sword & Shield will be a return to form for the franchise following the more experimental Sun/Moon and Let’s Go titles, it was revealed that the main aesthetic – more Pokémon everywhere – is alive and well in the new title. In the new “wild areas” of the game’s overworld, players will be able to visually see full 3D models of Pokémon roaming the fields. Thanks to a new free control camera, the scale feels so much larger than before. Which Pokémon appear and when will depend on factors like time of day and even the weather. Wild areas are much larger and expansive than previous between town sections of these games, so the Pokémon selection will likely be quite dense.
Naturally, why go to a new region if there’s not new Pokémon to catch, and we caught a quick glimpse of just a handful of what Galar will have to offer: the raven Pokémon Corviknight, the sheep inspired Wooloo, the flowery Gossifleur and Eldegoss, and my new personal favorite – the impressively wonderfully named Drednaw. At the end of the presentation; we were treated to a look at the twin legendary Pokémon that will grace the cover art – Zacian and Zamazenta. Both are wolf-like creatures, with Zacian holding a sword in its mouth and Zamazenta adorned with a massive shield. While the body types are the same, the two have very distinctive designs and color schemes to remain distinctive. Even so, these are the two most similar legendary pair the series has yet attempted.
We also got to meet some of Sword & Shield’s cast. Galar’s professor is Magnolia, assisted by her granddaughter Sonia. It’s implied that she’ll be visiting the player out in the field throughout the game on the older Professor’s behalf. Our rival character, the energetic Hop, wants to be the very best himself as he currently lives in his shadow of his brother Leon, who just so happens to be the incredibly well liked champion of the region. Finally, we got a look at the very buff first gym leader (yep, gyms are definitely back), Milo. Milo will be a master of Grass-type Pokémon.
In the biggest (literally) reveal, the brand new mechanic being added is called “Dynamax.” When using Dynamax, which appears to be limited to specific areas of the game world, Pokémon grow to humongous size and get “Max Moves,” presumably with massive stat buffs. All gym leaders will use this mechanic, leading to gyms being stadiums filled with battle fans getting more and more excited throughout. Rotoms will fly through the battlefield, capturing the footage for NPCs watching from their homes, giving more pressure to new trainers and a new feeling of spectacle for players. Dynamax will also fuel a new multiplayer feature – in game raids. These raids will trigger in the wild areas and players can team up to face off against a Dynamaxed Pokémon; similar to how raids in Pokémon GO have functioned. Raids will be playable both on local connections and over Nintendo Switch Online, though series producer Junichi Masuda seemed cagey about whether or not these raids would be like Super Mario Maker 2’s controversial choice to not allow players to play with others on their Switch friends list.
Overall, Sword & Shield feel significantly more exciting and bold thanks to the extra power afforded by the Nintendo Switch, and I couldn’t be more excited. How are you feeling after getting a better look? Ready to get on the train to Galar or need to see more? Let us know in the comments and on social media!