Today’s Pokémon Direct confirmed a slew of new details for upcoming Nintendo Switch games, Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Game Freak has confirmed that Sword and Shield will be released worldwide on November 15, 2019. Pre-orders are open now with both games available separately and as a double-pack.
The Direct, which was hosted by Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda and Shugeru Ohmori, also introduced some new characters, including Professor Magnolia, the Galar region’s incumbent champion, Leon, and his brother and rival, Hop.
Pokémon Sword and Shield heralds the eighth Pokémon generation, and with it come a new batch of creatures to catch. The Direct introduced the sheep-like Wooloo, the fearsome Drednaw, the grass-type Gossifleur, and the flying taxi, Corviknight. At first glance the new designs look to be a huge improvement on those from 2016’s Sun and Moon. Of course, plenty of Pokémon from past generations will also make an appearance.
Two new Legendaries were also unveiled, each representing the Sword and Shield motif. Zamazenta is encased in a shield, while Zacian wields a blade in its mouth.
In battle, players will be able to use a new Dynamax option to grow a Pokémon to a huge size for a limited time and use enhanced attacks and abilities. There was also confirmation that Galar’s giant stadiums are indeed gyms, perfect for hosting battles between these super-sized Pokémon.
The game will also include some welcome online improvements, including co-op play and raids. Raid Battles let four trainers pit their wits against a single Dynamax opponent.
Despite sharing the same overall style as Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, Sword and Shield display significant improvements in visual fidelity and animation. They also nudge towards open world gameplay with the addition of a new ‘Wild Area’ in which trainers can roam off the beaten path and the camera can be moved freely. It’s very Breath of the Wild.
You can watch the full broadcast right here.