Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield have been officially announced, meaning we finally know some basic info about Pokémon Gen 8, at last.
The new Pokémon Sword and Shield starters are the main thing to be confirmed so far, along with some initial details on the Galar region, the presence of Gyms, and wild encounters.
We detail everything we know about the new Gen 8 games so far below - including official images, artwork and the first trailer - and will keep this page up to date as details evolve!
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Pokémon Sword and Shield Galar region and wild battles
Details are very thin on the ground for Pokémon Sword and Shield at the moment - so far we've had just the one initial announcement video, in the form of a Pokémon-themed Nintendo Direct that incorporated just the one trailer.
There are a few things we can learn from the trailer however, as well as a few very thin details mentioned by Tsunekazu Ishihara, Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori - the President of the Pokémon Company, Game Freak board member, and Sword and Shield game director respectively.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Region: Galar
The first and most obvious of those details is the region. Sword and Shield are set in Galar, a rather British-looking environment featuring "idyllic countryside and conemporary cities" as well as "vast plains" and "craggy mountains". It looks a bit like an upside-down version of England, Scotland and Wales - like Game of Thrones' Westeros, really, Hadrian's wall included.
What can we spot here? Well, from the trailer and the image above there are a few things we can speculate about.
First, there appear to be multiple statdia, or stadium-like arenas, in the region. You see the player entering one with a green leaf on the front in the trailer, and then later in the trailer there are Pokémon battling in a large arena, and the male player character walking out onto one in what looks a bit like a football kit.
There's a decent chance that these represent the Galar region's version of Pokémon Gyms, which were mentioned as returning in the initial reveal Direct stream (although not in the standard trailer published afterwards), as well as the return of your main quest to become Pokémon Champion.
There are also some symbols carved into rocks at different points in the trailer, and a giant chalk figure - an old British phenomenon where giant figures are carved into hills by removing the top layer of soil to reveal the white chalk layer below. The one in the reveal trailer looks a little like a large Melmetal surrounded by a series of smaller Meltan, if you take a bit of creative license in how you look at it. Meltan and Melmetal are Gen 8 Pokémon after all - but the nature of those carvings and figures is very much speculation for now!
Pokémon Sword and Shield wild battles - do random encounters return?
It's not absolutely certain, but it very much does look like random encounters and wild Pokémon battles will both be returning, after 2018's Pokémon Let's Go games did away with them in favour of immediately-catchable Pokémon roaming through the game's overworld.
In the trailer, the player is seen creeping through a patch of long grass, before being taken to the wild encounter screen where a Pikachu appears. The trainer then sends out a Minccino to battle the Pikachu, and then throws a Poké Ball to catch the Pikachu after that. In other words, the return of wild battles and random encounters are all but confirmed for Sword and Shield.
Pokémon Sword and Shield starters and available Pokémon - Scorbunny, Sobble and Grookey detailed
As well as a few details about those Gyms and wild battles in Galar, we also got our first look at Pokémon Sword and Shield's starter Pokémon: Scorbunny, Sobble and Grookey.
Pokémon Sword and Shield starters
The three starters have been announced, and seem to correspond to the standard Fire, Water, and Grass-types once more. They are:
- Scorbunny - seemingly Fire-type "Rabbit Pokémon", Scorbunny is always running about, bursting with energy.
- Sobble - seemingly Water-type "Water-lizard Pokémon", Sobble is a bit timid, shooting out attacks as it hides itself in the water.
- Grookey - seemingly Grass-type "Chimp Pokémon", this mischievous Pokémon is full of boundless curiosity.
One interesting thing we noticed from the trailer too is that Sobble, the Water-type starter, seems to be capable of invisibility - or at least some type of camouflage - when it emerges from the water. Neat!
Other available Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield
Aside from the three typical starters, we also saw a number of other already-known Pokémon in the trailer that make a return from previous generations. It's not clear how those Pokémon will be available - barring the likes of the wild Pikachu that appeared at the start - but there's clearly some way of obtaining them in the game, which is more than can be said for any non first-Gen Pokémon in Let's Go, for instance.
Here's a list of those we spotted in the trailer:
- Pikachu (and likely its pre-evolution evolution Pichu and Raichu)
- Minccino (and likely its evolution Cinccino)
- Wishiwashi (in solo form, but likely its School Form too)
- Grubbin (and likely its evolutions Charjabug and Vikavolt)
- Hoothoot (and likely its evolution Noctowl)
- Zweilous (and likely its pre-evolution and evolution Deino and Hydreigon)
- Flygon (and likely its pre-evolutions Trapinch and Vibrava)
- Braviary (and likely its pre-evolution Rufflet)
- Wailmer (and likely its evolution Wailord)
- Meowstic (and likely its pre-evolution Espurr)
- Lucario (and likely its pre-evolution Riolu)
- Tyranitar (and likely its pre-evolutions Larvitar and Pupitar)
- Munchlax (and likely its evolution Snorlax)
There's the further evolutions of the three new starter Pokémon to come, of course, plus other in-game nods to other Pokémon, like what we reckon is Meltan and Melmetal in that chalk figure, as mentioned above, and at the very beginning of the trailer a little wind vane in the shape of a Fletchling, which might be a sign that it - along with its evolutions Fletchinder and Talonflame - might be available in-game, too.
Finally, on the available Pokémon front, there's the question of those two wolves that appear in the game's logos, on the hilt of the sword and the top of the shield. Could they be a hint at the legendary Pokémon for these two games? Or are they just a bit of meaningless decoration?
"Many more" new Pokémon are set to appear, so hold tight for more announcements as time goes by.
Pokémon Sword and Shield trailer, release window, and everything else we know
The release window for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is late 2019, which isn't any update on what we already knew. The last few Pokémon games have all arrived in mid-to-late November, so if forced to take a guess we'd expect something similar again for Sword and Shield.
The initial Nintendo Direct promised that there's also "plenty in the works for the Pokémon brand that we hope will delight you" alongside Sword and Shield updates throughout the year, and there was a general suggestion that developer Game Freak will be taking some risks whilst still staying true to the more traditional mainline Pokémon experience.
We'll update this page with those details - as well as the standard info on things like the full release date, pre-orders and any special editions, as and when we learn about them!