Pokémon Sword and Shield: double pack pre-order, trailers, open world, wild battles, release date and everything we know

All the official we have so far about Generation 8's Pokémon Sword and Shield.

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.

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:

pokemon_sword_shield_double_pack

Pokémon Sword and Shield double pack pre-order bonus

If you purchase the double pack steelbook (it doesn't seem to be the case that you need to pre-order specifically), you'll receive two codes (one per game) that will reward you with special items known as Dynamax Crystals.

According to the official blurb: "by using the Dynamax Crystals in the Wild Area, Trainers will be able to face Dynamax Larvitar and Dynamax Jangmo-o, Pokémon that are normally encountered later in the game, in special Max Raid Battles. Larvitar won't appear in Pokémon Sword and Jangmo-o won't appear in Pokémon Shield during normal gameplay, but players will be able to catch them in either version by using these Dynamax Crystals."

It's not clear yet whether you'll be able to obtain Dynamax Crystals via any other method in-game.

Pokémon Sword and Shield trailers

There are three 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:

Here's the full June Pokémon Direct that went into more detail on the specifics:

And here's the latest trailer, announcing some more new Pokémon and the new Gigantamaxing feature.


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,the new Galarian Pokémon Forms appearing in Sword and Shield 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! Do note, however, that only Pokémon supported in the Sword and Shield National Pokédex are supported - you can't transfer over your other Pokémon from Pokémon Home.

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.

Pokemon_sword_shield_map_art
Pokémon Sword and Shield Galar region map.

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:

pokemon_sword_shield_wild_encounters

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.

pokemon_sword_shield_wild_region_open_world_1
pokemon_sword_shield_wild_region_open_world_2
pokemon_sword_shield_wild_region_open_world_3
pokemon_sword_shield_wild_region_open_world_4

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!

pokemon_sword_shield_dynamaxing

There's a new Mega Evolution-style mechanic called Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing - 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. There's also Gigantamaxing, which changes Pokémon's appearance and allows access to G-Moves, like a combination of Dynamaxing, Mega-Evolution and Z-Moves, but it's only possible on certain species of Pokémon, and only "special" ones within that species.

pokemon_sword_shield_max_raid_battles

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!

pokemon_sword_shield_characters

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. There's also the new Chairman Rose and Oleana characters who run the Pokémon League in Galar, and seem an awful lot like the main antagonists if you ask us.

pokemon_sword_shield_gyms

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!

pokemon_sword_shield_rotom_phone

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.

pokemon_sword_shield_poke_jobs

Pokémon can now earn their keep with Poké Jobs - By talking to the Rotomi found in the Pokémon Centers scattered across the Galar region, you'll be able to send your Pokémon out to complete a Poké Job. This Poké Job could be anything from construction work to cooking to protecting a corporation's 'investments.' Completing a Poké Job will reward your Pokémon with XP and possibly a rare item. You can increase the amount of XP you receive by sending more Pokémon, having your Pokémon work the job for a long time or by finding the right type of Pokémon for the job.

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


For more guides like this on big, upcoming games and hardware on Eurogamer, we've pages on:

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About the author

Chris Tapsell

Chris Tapsell

Staff Writer

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Staff Writer, its newest Chris, and a keen explorer of the dark arts of gaming, from League of Legends to the murky world of competitive Pokémon.

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