After much speculation and a strong assumption that the 8th generation of the immensely popular franchise was on the horizon it is, in fact, coming in 2019! If you missed the Pokémon direct on February 27th you can find it here. Now is the perfect time to break it down and speculate on things like release date and gameplay features, so let’s explore what Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield have to offer!

The Graphics 

Probably the most impressive part of the trailer, the gameplay footage looks incredible. Even though the footage isn’t representative of the final product, it looks very sharp and the art style is very pleasing to the eye. We only get to see a few Pokémon and moves being used but the battles look very dynamic. The environments look lush and varied, while the water looks vivid, something that shows the true power the Switch has to lend to a main series game.

The Gameplay/Features/Mechanics

Very little was shown as far as gameplay is concerned, but there are a few things shown in the trailer which are worth commenting on. Firstly, wild Pokémon don’t appear on the overworld. This has never been a feature in the main series games but with the popularity of this feature in Pokémon Let’s Go! games, it does not come as a surprise to see it implemented. Another fan-favorite feature that doesn’t look like it’s returning is pokémon following your avatar. A lot of footage of the character walking around was shown and not a single pokémon following behind the character. That being said, it appears that interactions with pokémon in the overworld are still a thing. Also, it appears that the characters and even regular NPC’s are going to be more expressive than ever, clearly visible in the way their mouths move throughout the trailer during battles, idle animations, and during the cinematic that marks the end of the gameplay portion. One final big feature which will be returning is trainer customization.

It’s fairly safe to say that abilities will return, though there is no evidence of this in the footage that was given and there are no double battles either, but with that making up the competitive meta-game, it is sure to make a return. Speaking of competition, on both the map, in an epic cinematic, and a battle there is a stadium. This may be the location of either the elite four or some sort of challenge for the player. Trainer battles are initiated the same way that they have been in every other game. Gyms likely also find their way back after a brief absence in the “Alola-based” games. There is what appears to be what clearly looks like the grass gym at the 1:19 mark (and some moments earlier) even sporting the potential badge design on the building.

Looking at the region it looks as though there are going to be several different ways of traversal. If you look at the western edge of the region, there are clearly see train tracks that can also be found throughout the map. There also appears to be a reddish vehicle in the upper portion of the map in the “snow belt.” Given the scope of the region, it would be very nice to see ride Pokémon return.

The Region

         The new zone has been dubbed the “Galar Region” and appears very diverse with clearly defined borders. The borders is something that may show how each part of the region works with each other, while also giving hints to the reason behind the titles themselves. We see three large cities all of which are surrounded by walls, both natural and man-made. That could be hints of feudalism in the game as the three cities have distinct architectures, with wilderness separating them as natural borders. However, there was also a strong underlying theme of industrialism shown throughout the trailer, but with titles based on offense and defense, there could be some sub-region feuds and sides to choose.

The Pokémon

         The trailer shows some returning pokémon; Pikachu, Minccino, Munchlax, Wishiwashi, Grubbin, Hoothoot, Braviary, Flygon, Zweilous, Wailmer, Meowstic, Lucario, and Tyranitar. Surprisingly enough, there is no Aegislash shown in the trailer given the name of the game. The sprites look good and show a lot of definition, truly one of the best aspects of having the game on the switch compared to the 3DS. As per tradition we also got our first look at the new starters.

         Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble the grass, fire and water starters respectively and there is some real potential. Nintendo is still following their pattern of the Chinese zodiac for fire starters with the rabbit. Scorbunny is bi-pedal and unless it regresses to quad-pedal, that is another chain yet to be broken. Hopefully the bandage on the nose doesn’t translate to a future fire-fighting type. There may finally be the grass-monkey Pokémon that make up for the Pansage line that so universally disappointed the fans in Grookey. With a three-stage evolution, we can only hope that it’ll be a good competitive Pokémon. Sobble’s timid nature matches the design well looking like a newt with it’s paddle like tail. Its temperament is reminiscent of a newt because they like to hide much like Sobble’s description on the official website. Overall, the designs look good and hopefully the ones that will follow can maintain this level of quality.

Release Date Speculation!

Nintendo gave a decently sized window for when in 2019 the game will come out (the latter half), however, with a little guesswork, it can be narrowed further. Recently, Nintendo has been releasing their games in October and November, so the likely dates are narrowed down. Assuming that Nintendo wants to move a lot of Switches and Switch bundles on Black Friday it makes sense it’d be released before then. Nintendo has also released their past couple games on either Tuesday or Friday as far back as 2014. Given the information and patterns that Nintendo have been following, the games will likely be released Tuesday, November 12th or Friday, November 15th 2019. This will give GameFreak and Nintendo a week before Black Friday to patch any bugs the hardcore player base finds upon release. With all this talk of a new game please start a discussion in the comments about what you think about Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield!!! If you would like to read more here’s a link to the official website.