Pokemon Sword and Shield Direct has just ended, revealing a metric ton of gameplay from the first Pokemon title on the Nintendo Switch. With stunning 3D graphics, new mechanics and a large amount of new Pokemon, we’re completely amped about Sword and Shield! Pokemon Sword and Shield will be released on November 15 2019 and you can preorder them today.
The Direct was hosted by Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori from Gamefreak and several other Gamefreak team members.
- Five new Pokémon introduced (Wooloo, Gossifleur, Eldegoss, Drednaw, Corviknight) alongside existing Galar starters
- A new open world area is available to players (Wild Area), Pokémon spawns are influenced by weather and the location you’re in.
- A new Dynamax mechanic allows Pokémon to grow in size and become boosted for three moves.
- Max Raid Battles are a new cooperative mode for four players. Up to four players fight a dynamaxed raid boss with special mechanics. A first multiplayer raid scenario in the main series.
- Gym stadiums, new characters, new mechanics all across the graphics.
James Turner (Art Director) introduced us to a few new Pokemon from the Galar region:
- Wooloo – sheep looking fluffy fur Pokémon
- Gossifleur – the flowering Pokémon, favoring places with clean water. When Gossifleur evolves it becomes Eldegoss.
- Drednaw – the bite Pokémon, a dinousaur / turtle looking Pokemon that is difficult to tame
- Corviknight – flying Taxi, takes player back to previous towns he has wisited
Galar region also includes Pokémon from the previous generation spread around a new free roam area called the Wild Area.
The Wild Area and wild battles
Wild Area stretches between cities and is filled with nature, Pokémon and challenges. Pokémon spawns depend on the weather and terrain you’re currently visiting in the Wild Area. While in the Wild Area, you’ll be able to control the camera in order to explore the vast space around you and search for Pokémon and items.
Similar to Pokémon Let’s Go, wild Pokemon are visible in the grass and battles start if you run into them. There are special encounters where a wild Pokemon is hidden and only marked with an ! mark. Sword and Shield will also introduce some new Pokemon abilities. Cotton Down, the Ability of Gossifleur and Eldegoss, is one of these new Abilities. When a Pokémon with this Ability is hit by an attack, it will send out cotton fluff that will lower the Speed stat of other Pokémon!
Dynamaxing is a new feature that can now be used in Trainer Battles. Dynamaxing increases Pokemon size and boosts their power. Dynamaxed Pokémon reverts to normal after 3 turns, so players need to plan wisely when and why they will dynamax. Dynamaxing is similar to mega evolutions and will likely influence the competitive scene.
Dynamaxed Pokémon get new “max” moves which replace the moves they previously had, acting essentially as a second set of moves that can only be used while maxed. Max moves can have additional status effects.
In order to Dynamax, a Dynamax Band item is needed. The Band is a special item created and researched in the Galar region, which could indicate that this feature won’t carry over to future games (our speculation).
Max Raid Battles
Up to 4 players can join in the Wild Area to fight a Dynamaxed version of a wild Pokémon in a Max raid scenario. Only one player can dynamax their own Pokémon, so the team needs to decide which player will boost their own Pokemon to maximize their damage output. Dynamaxed raid bosses also feature special mechanics that are not available outside these battles.
Raid bosses appear in the Wild Area and depend on the current weather in the Area. Max Raid battles will be available via local multiplayer or via internet connection.
The official website has clarified that it isn’t strictly required to play with other people to complete Max Raid Battles and that it is indeed tied to the Switch online service:
- If three other Trainers aren’t available to participate in Max Raid Battles, support Trainers will automatically be added to your side to help you battle the wild Dynamax Pokémon.
- Enrollment in the Nintendo Switch Online (paid) service is required for online gameplay.
Gyms and rivals in the Galar Region
Pokémon battles are a huge deal in the Galar region. Leon is the Galar region’s most popular trainer and the one you will be battling for the Champion title. Your rival’s name is Hop and he will be following you throughout the Galar region.
Supporting characters include:
- Professor Magnolia who researches the Dynamax phenomena
- Assistant Sonia who servers as Magnolia’s assistant
In the Galar region, gym battles are held in large stadiums, they are televised and extremely popular among the crowd. Gym leaders use extremely powerful dynamaxed Pokémon and you are expected to use the same in order to win.
The official trailer showcased gym leader Milo, a grass type expert that uses a dynamaxed Eldegoss to fight.
Zacian and Zamacenta, Box Legendary Pokemon
Legendary Pokemon of the Galar region are two legendary wolves,one with a sword in its mouth and one with a shield over its face:
- Zacian – “Zacian attacks so gracefully that its movements can even captivate its opponents. It holds what appears to be a sword in its mouth.”
- Zamazenta – “Zamazenta’s regal and majestic movements overwhelm any opponents that dare face it. Its body is covered in what seems to be a shield.”
We don’t know a lot about them yet, but it seems like they are fighting together against someone else, rather than being one against another. According to the official descriptions, not even the residents of the Galar region know a lot about the legendary wolves.