It’s finally here: the big unveiling of Pokémon’s eighth generation, and the first appearance of (new) Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch. In all the buzz over the unveiling of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, fans are already picking out their favorite starter Pokémon and drawing up imaginary future teams. The seven-minute reveal trailer packed in a lot of information, but in all the excitement, there may be a few details that got overlooked. Let’s take a closer peek at some of the details that you may have missed.
The Galar region
Every Pokémon region is inspired by a real-life area, and the Galar region seems to be inspired by the U.K. A long shot of the map shows that the region is set on an island of a similar shape, and the descriptions of “idyllic countryside” and “contemporary cities” found on the Pokémon website seem to correspond well to that idea.
However, there are other little details that hint at the game’s location. A clock tower features prominently in one of the towns, and it seems to be a reference to London’s famous Big Ben. At one point, the game’s main character walks into an area that resembles a soccer (or football, as the rest of the world calls it) stadium.
The Galar region appears to have a train or tram system, which may be how we travel around. The train is visible moving across a few shots in the background, but is also prominent enough to appear on the game’s map. It’s likely going to play a part in how we travel around the new region.
The last Pokémon games we saw on the Nintendo Switch was Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, which introduced some experimental new methods of catching and battling with Pokémon. It seems like those have been walked back in favor of a more standard Pokémon experience. There were no Pokémon visible in the overworld on the routes we saw, and the trainer had to run into tall grass to encounter a Pikachu. Sadly, it also seems that this game removes the ability to have your Pokémon walk alongside you.
Pokémon Gyms will also be reappearing. They’ve been gone for a generation, replaced by the Trials in Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon. However, the official Pokémon website makes note of them, saying that we’ll “visit the various Gyms in the Galar region, aiming for the enviable and admirable title of Champion” along the course of our Pokémon adventures.
It also seems likely that we’ll be able to encounter Pokémon from all past seven generations in this game, since many made an appearance in the brief battle montage.
The starter Pokémon
The Pokémon website also gives us a tad more information about each of the three new Pokémon we’ll start our adventures with.
Grookey is a Grass type, and “a mischievous Chimp Pokémon that is full of boundless energy.” Scorbunny, a Fire type, is “a Rabbit Pokémon that is always running about, bursting with energy.” Finally, Sobble is a Water type that’s described as “a somewhat timid Water Lizard Pokémon that shoots out attacks as it hides itself in the water.”
We don’t know what these Pokémon evolve into yet, but the descriptions could give us some clues about their evolutions’ future typings. Perhaps Scorbunny’s boundless energy could be represented by a later Electric typing, for example, or Sobble’s timidness by a Ghost addition.
Or, of course, Scorbunny could evolve into Big Chungus. You decide.
oh my God pic.twitter.com/gv9Jg9T2y4
— Trent Lockwood (@TrentALockwood) February 27, 2019
Hints and speculation
There was lots to see in the trailers, though we don’t know everything yet. One prominent scene included that soccer stadium-lookalike, mentioned above. Given that this is the world of Pokémon, it’s more likely to be a battle arena of some sort, though we’ve seen allegories to real-world sports like wrestling pop up in Pokémon games before. Perhaps this soccer/battling tournament serves as something like the Battle Royal system or Pokémon Contests of past games, something that players can participate in from town to town. Or, perhaps, this is something that unlocks at endgame as a true test of skill, like the Battle Towers, Battle Tree, or Battle Subway.
At one point in the trailer, the character runs past a sign with an advertisement for some Pokémon berries and food. It looks like berries will be making a return, and we’ll have some new way to turn them into treats for Pokémon to eat. Whether this will be in the form of Poké Blocks, Poké Puffs, or some unknown new berry form we haven’t seen yet, remains to be seen, but it’s likely that we’ll get a new minigame or system out of it.
From a technical perspective, the game may feature much more dynamic lighting than any Pokémon game before. Watch the backgrounds while the developers are speaking in the reveal trailer, and you’ll see clouds move to block the sun and send shadows across the countryside. This could just be background set dressing, but the games seem to have stepped up showing some great-looking new locations. Perhaps dynamic weather and dynamic lighting are among the graphical upgrades the Pokémon series is about to get.
Finally, the trailer teases a few new Pokémon we might see. At one point, the character runs in front of a hill covered in strange markings that seem to depict a Pokémon using some kind of Electric attack, with smaller Pokémon darting around it. The whole thing vaguely resembles a transmission tower, so perhaps there’s some tie-in there.
Then, there’s the logo for Sword and Shield itself. Recent Pokémon game logos have contained hints at each game’s legendary Pokémon, with X and Y resembling Xerneas’s antlers and Yveltal’s wings and Sun and Moon resembling Solgaleo’s mane and Lunala’s silhouette. Sword and Shield‘s logos depict, naturally, a sword and shield, but both are capped by a distinctly canine silhouette. This could mean that we’ll be facing down some wolf-like legendaries in the games.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are set to release in late 2019, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.