Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are two of the most anticipated games coming later this year. The eighth generation will make the pivotal leap from a handheld-focused series onto the Nintendo Switch. They also represent the first all-new main Pokémon games since 2016’s Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Details have been scarce, with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company teasing us with trailers and introducing the three new starter Pokémon. A Sword and Shield-focused Pokémon Direct is scheduled to stream next week on June 5. The Direct should provide further details, and hopefully a release date.
Until then we have mostly speculation and a wishlist of features for Pokémon Sword and Shield. The series has evolved in may ways over the last two-plus decades, yet also stubbornly adhered to its same basic formulas. After last year’s surprisingly fantastic spin-off remake Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, we have some strong opinions on features we’d love to see in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
Pokémon games need to please multiple fanbases. The young newcomers, the returning teens, the veteran adults, all of who have different skill levels and familiarity with the franchise. Pokémon remains one of the best RPGs for kids, but there is a whole generation of gamers who have grown up with decades of Pokémon games under their belts. For that reason we’d love to have proper difficulty levels, or advanced features that can be checked on or off. We don’t necessarily need to go full Nuzlocke but we’d love the option to create a more challenging experience.
And for the love of goodness let us skip through tutorials, or at least be able to answer a “Have you played a Pokémon game before?” question at the beginning.
More Regional Variants
One of the coolest features from Pokémon Sun and Moon was the introduction of regional variants of classic Gen 1 Pokémon, such as Alolan Vulpix, Rattata, Sandshrew, and Diglett. These regional variants aren’t just cosmetic changes. They add or modify the types and movesets for each Pokémon. Sun and Moon specifically focused on the popular Gen 1 Pokémon and we’d love to see other Pokémon get a similar treatment, even if Sword and Shield’s England-inspired world is a bit less thematic than Sun and Moon’s tropical islands.
Pokémon Appearing in the World
The single best new feature the Pokémon Let’s Go games added were wild Pokémon appearing in the world. No longer did you wander around tall grass or caves waiting for the game to zoom in on a battle, instead you saw Pokémon walking around. It made the world come alive and made hunting for Pokémon a million times more engaging and fun. We expect traditional random encounters to return, but we’d love to see this magical aspect form Let’s Go become a permanent feature in all future Pokémon games.
To expand on Pokémon appearing in the world, you could also select one of your six Pokémon in your party to follow you around. In the case of riding Pokémon like Arcanine and Charizard, you could use them to travel more quickly, or in Sun and Moon they were used to break walls and surf on the water. We would love if we could select our favorite Pokémon to walk around with us, like Pikachu and Ash in the classic anime series.
Access Pokémon Box Anywhere
One of the biggest welcome conveniences added in the Let’s Go games was the ability to access our Pokémon storage anywhere, not just at the Pokémon Center. This encouraged us to switch out our Pokémon much more often, and try new combinations and strategies.
Speaking of awesome features from Let’s Go, why not keep the easy to use drop-in co-op feature? By splitting the Joy-Con, two players could play on a single screen, and even join in for battles together. It was a fantastic way for parents to play with kids.
New Unique Dual Types
Fun fact: There are 18 different Pokémon types, and as of Gen 7 over 800 different Pokémon. Yet there are still over two dozen dual type combinations that don’t exist in any Pokémon! Every generation slowly adds new unique types so we’re confident we’ll fulfill this one. Some interesting missing dual-type combinations include Bug/Ice, Rock/Ghost, Dark/Fairy, Grass/Fire, and Poison/Steel.
The Pokémon games have been frustratingly slow when it comes to customizing our trainers. It took several games before we could even play as a girl! We want multiple body types, ethnicities, and all the clothing options we can get. While we’re at it, how about dressing up our Pokémon as well? Even just a few hats would go a long way in adding a lot of personality to our favorites.
Optional Motion Controls
The Joy-Con motion controls for capturing Pokémon in Pokémon: Let’s Go were solid, but also divisive. We’d like the option to turn them on for those that enjoy the immersive challenge of throwing their own Pokéballs, and support for the Poké Ball Plus controller.
We have high hopes for the first main Pokémon game on the Nintendo Switch. Hopefully we’ll get more answers and details on Pokémon Sword and Shield during the Pokémon Direct on June 5.