Nintendo hosted a Pokémon-focused Nintendo Direct today. The Pokémon Direct revealed new details about upcoming games Pokémon Sword and Shield. Most importantly we also got a release date: November 15, exclusively on Nintendo Switch. Pre-orders for each game, as well as a two-in-one double pack, are available now.
In the previous reveal, we’d only seen the three starter Pokémon, Sobble, Scorbunny, and Grookey. During the Direct, we were introduced to several new Pokémon. Woolo is a sheep Pokémon, and a Normal type. Gossiflueur is a cute flower Grass-type Pokémon that can evolve into the fluffy-headed Eldegoss, the only evolved Pokémon shown so far.
Drednaw (Water/Rock) resembles a snapping turtle with a powerful jaw that can eat through metal. Corviknight is an awesome metallic raven Pokémon and a Flying/Steel type. It also doubles as a fast travel system in the Galar region, transporting the player to any previously visited town.
The end of the Direct also revealed the new Legendary Pokémon. Every Pokémon game since Gen 2 features new Legendary Pokémon that are tied into the main story and grace the cover. For Pokémon Sword it’s Zacian, and Pokémon Shield is Zamazenta. Both look like wolves, one with shield armor and the other literally carrying a sword in its mouth. What role they play in the story remains a mystery.
Much of the new Pokémon in the Galar Region can be found in the Wild Area. The Wild Area is a large outdoor area that connects many different locations in Galar. It looks like it’s replacing the more traditional sectioned-off routes, instead creating a more open world design. Wild Pokémon free roam the area, and change depending on your location and weather. The camera is fully unlocked in this area, which is a very cool new feature in a Pokémon game.
Dynamax is the new battle mechanic in Sword and Shield, similar to Sun and Moon’s Z-Moves and X and Y’s Mega Evolution. Dynamax transforms your Pokémon into a giant-size version, with souped up stats and moves. Similar to Mega Evolution, only one Pokémon can be Dynamax’d per battle, and it only lasts for three rounds. Enemy Pokémon can also be Dyanamax’d, whether against Gym Leaders for large-scale boss fights in one of Galar’s many arenas, or as new multiplayer Raid Battles with wild Pokémon.
Up to four players can join forces in new Max Raid Battles to combine their might against these souped-up threats. These wild Pokémon remain giant-size for the entire battle. Only one of the four players an take advantage of their own Dynamax powers during these battles. Once weakened a Pokémon can then be captured, and some Pokémon can only be captured in Dynamax form.
Co-op battles are a first for the Pokémon series. Max Raid Battles will support local wireless as well as online (with Nintendo Switch Online membership).
One aspect the Direct didn’t reveal much of was the story. Though we did some new characters. We were introduced to Leon, the reigning undefeated Pokémon Champion of the Galar Region. His ambitious younger brother Hop serves as your rival throughout the campaign. One of the Gym leaders was also revealed, Milo, the Grass-type Gym leader.
For allies you’ll be mentored by Professor Magnolia, whom I believe is the first main female Pokémon professor we’ve had in the series. Her granddaughter and assistant Sonia will also aid you in your quest.
We expect new details and Pokémon reveals to be teased throughout the coming months and weeks leading up to Pokémon Sword and Shield’s release on November 15.