Nintendo unveiled a wealth of new details about their upcoming Switch titles, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield during a Nintendo Direct presentation online on June 5, 2019. New Pokémon, new characters, and various other unique details about the new Galar region were all discussed over the course of the 15-minute show.
One of the biggest (literally) changes includes the introduction of Dynamax battles, in which regular Pokémon become massive, super-sized versions of themselves. Any Pokémon can be turned into a Dynamax version of themselves, which will boost their stats and give them more powerful moves accordingly; however, they can only maintain this huge power for three turns before reverting to their standard size.
The games will be introducing cooperative raids based on these Dynamax forms as well, called Max Raid Battles. These will allow players and up to three of their friends to fight against these huge, powerful Pokémon as a team and work together to defeat and capture it.
While the previous generation of Pokémon titles eschewed the traditional gym battles in favor of island trials, the classic Pokémon Gyms are now back in a new format. The Galar region favors Pokémon battles as a form of entertainment, and thus Gym Leaders host battles in huge, football-like stadiums. The champion of the league, Leon, was also introduced – he’s popular with the people of Galar, and his younger brother, Hop, will serve as the player’s main rival throughout the game.
Several new Pokémon were also introduced: the sheep-like Wooloo, the floral Gossifleur, the raven-inspired Corviknight and the biting Drednaw, among others. The game’s region is based on the United Kingdom, and many of the Pokémon seem to be taking inspiration from British culture and folklore. The two legendary Pokémon that serve as the games’ new mascots were also unveiled right at the end: Zacian and Zamazenta, two wolf-like creatures that feature sword and shield designs.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will both be releasing worldwide on November 15, 2019.