Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield details are finally a bit more substantial.
As well as some specifics on the Galar region's Pokémon themselves (which we have dedicated pages on, linked to further below), we also know more about the world itself, and how Sword and Shield will generally shake out.
On this page, which acts as a hub for our Pokémon Sword and Shield guides, we'll cover the basics like the neat Sword and Shield double pack pre-order, the latest Sword and Shield trailers, and of course the Pokémon Sword and Shield release date on top of a general roundup of what else we know about the seemingly open world generation 8 games.
On this page:
Pokémon Sword and Shield double pack and pre-order details
Usually there's not that much to scream about in terms of mainline Pokémon pre-orders or bonus versions, but this year there's a very snazzy double pack coming.
There's one key thing to note about it: in the US presentation (the full Pokémon Direct trailer shown above), there was no mention of a steelbook, but in the European one there was. It's not clear right now whether or not you'll get the gold steelbook if you pre-order the double pack in the US, but it looks like you won't, so bear that in mind! Here's how it looks:
Otherwise, there aren't any other bonuses listed for pre-ordering either version of the game, separate or combined, which is pretty standard for mainline Pokémon games.
Pokémon Sword and Shield trailers
There are two official trailers for Pokémon Sword and Shield so far, plus another more lengthy Pokémon Direct video which dives into greater depth. Here's the first of them, the announcement trailer:
Here's the next trailer, which is the full reveal that came in early June 2019:
And here's the full June Pokémon Direct that went into more detail on the specifics:
Looking for more Sword and Shield pages like this? Our jumbo guide to the Pokémon Sword and Shield double pack pre-orders, release date, open world, wild battles and everything we know is the place to start, while we also have pages on Sword and Shield Legendarys Zacian and Zamazenta, Sword and Shield starter Pokémon Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble, and a list of all new Gen 8 Pokémon in the Sword and Shield Regional Pokédex for you to check out, too.
Pokémon Sword and Shield release date
The Pokémon Sword and Shield release date is Friday 15th November 2019.
It's coming to the Nintendo Switch only - not the Nintendo 3DS - and it won't be compatible with Pokémon Bank. If you want to transer your legacy Pokémon over, you'll need to transfer them into Bank, and then from Pokémon Bank to the new Pokémon Home platform that's coming in early 2020, and then from that into Pokémon Sword and Shield!
Open world, wild encounters and battles, and everything else we know about Sword and Shield
Alongside the basics like those pre-order details there was also a huge amount of in-depth information released through those trailers and presentations above.
Set in a Britain-inspired region where Pokémon are described as being closely involved in the region's industry, here's a quick and easy runthrough of the key information confirmed so far:
Wild encounters are back, with a twist - Pokémon will be visible in the overworld, and walking into them will trigger a traditional wild encounter battle. Other Pokémon, however, will just appear as explamation marks in the long grass, and you'll need to walk into that exclamation mark to trigger the wild battle and find out which Pokémon it is. In other words, wild battles are back, and encounters are a mixture of random ones and visible Pokémon.
The game seems to be part-linear, part open world - There's a new area, called the Wild Area, which spans much of the centre of the map (from those large lakes right up to the large black structure with spokes sticking out of it to either side). Here, a wide range of Pokémon will roam around which change according to the weather and area you're in. You can run around freely yourself, and even move the camera, for the first time!
There's a new Mega Evolution-style mechanic called Dynamaxing - You can make your Pokémon heckin' enormous if you use a special item, the Dynamax Band, in battle. It's a central part of battling in Galar (it seems all Gym leaders will use it), and it works similarly to Mega Evolution. Activate it once per battle for one Pokémon and it'll become huge, gaining boosted stats and enhanced moves, but it only lasts for three turns before reverting to normal.
Sword and Shield has mutliplayer-compatible Raids - Dubbed Max Raid Battles, this can be taken on with up to three other human players, or three NPC players if you'd rather not join forces with real people. They take place in the Wild Area, where you're transported to some kind of other realm and take on a Dynamaxed Pokémon. Only one of your group can Dynamax their own Pokémon so you'll need to strategise, but it's worth it: some Pokémon can only be caught through these Max Raid Battles. Note you'll need a Switch Online subscription to do it!
The usual character archetypes return - Professor Magnolia, the Champion Leon, your rival (and Leon's little brother) Hop, and the professor's assistant Sonia are the confirmed characters so far.
Gyms are in huge stadiums - Gyms are huge stadiums in the Galar region, where big crowds watch and react to your battles. The first Gym leader is the seemingly Grass-type specialist, Milo. Gyms form the Pokémon League here, and you'll need to try and reach the "pinnacle of the Pokémon League" if you want to become Champion. It seems like a football-style twist on the format!
The Rotom Dex returns with a twist, and maybe replaces HMs - In Gen 8 the Rotom Dex is now the Rotom Phone, a smart phone posessed by a Rotom that can apparently "do a lot more than serve as a Pokédex", with one example being the ability to attach it to your bike to make it move faster on land, or it can help you travel over water. That could be a sign it's the Galar region's version of HMs.
Pokémon Sword and Shield guide list: our dedicated guides to Gen 8 so far
Finally, there are a handful of other things that have been confirmed too, that are worthy of more in-depth guides of their own. Here's a quick list of our dedicated pages available so far!
Pokémon Sword and Shield guide list
- Pokémon Sword and Shield legendaries: Zacian and Zamazenta legendary wolf details
- Pokémon Sword and Shield starters: Sobble, Scorbunny and Grookey details
- Pokémon Sword and Shield Gen 8 Pokémon list: all new Pokémon and Regional Pokédex confirmed so far
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