The latest Pokémon titles to hit Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Sword and Shield, are right around the corner. There isn't very much time left to wait to get your hands on it and as is usually the case with upcoming video games, a few individuals have somehow gotten their hands on early copies of the titles and have begun leaking information online. According to a few new Pokémon Sword and Shield Reddit leaks, we may now know a bit more about what to expect from the games when they finally debut on November 15. If you'd rather wait until the games are out instead of seeing everything early, consider this a very important spoiler warning. It isn't possible to confirm whether these leaks are legitimate or not just yet, but they certainly look like the real thing.
Previously, the Sword and Shield starters were revealed to be Sobble, Grookey, and Scorbunny, adorable new additions to the Pokémon universe. These designs were based on frogs, monkeys, and rabbits, respectively. Thanks to one leaked image, we may finally have seen the first evolutionary stage of Sobble and Grookey. There's no mention of a Scorbunny image just yet, but it will be intriguing to see what kind of rabbit-like appearance it takes on.
The Reddit poster who shared the leak (originally from 4chan) believes the evolutions could be shiny, or rare variants of the Pokémon due to their coloring, but it's hard to tell at this point, considering there's been no official confirmation of their evolutionary forms' appearances.
Another leaked image appears to show a new form of Meowth. It could be its Galarian form, unique only to the new region for the two games. However, we've seen the way Meowth looks in-game for its massive Dynamax transformation, and it doesn't resemble this version of the Pokémon. However, Galarian forms have been known to look entirely different than their origins, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that this could be a special Meowth. For instance, Galarian Weezing appears to have small smokestack-like growths coming out of its head, whereas the original Weezing's appearance is a more rounded shape with "craters" dotting its entire body, which all emit poisonous gas.
An additional leak of what's purportedly a variation on Meowth (or a new Pokémon entirely) is Perrserker, and it looks a bit like a Viking take on the cat monster. It's just silly-looking enough to be real, but how would it be connected to Meowth? Meowth's next evolutionary step is Persian, and has always been since the original release of the first Pokémon games, Red and Blue. Evolutionary offshoots are possible, but new forms don't change the previously established lines. It could be that this is the next transformation a Meowth undergoes in the Galar region instead of evolving into Persian.
There's also what appears to be an elephant-like Pokémon that was captured in a realistic in-game setting rather than what looks like a character model viewer. It resembles Phanpy, a Pokémon that's already in the established canon, but it could be the Galarian form.
What's most intriguing, however, is a leaked image of a reportedly complete Pokédex from Sword and Shield. Fans have deduced that a total of 472 Pokémon have been cut, which results in about 357 remaining monsters from those available to be included in-game, with a good amount of them being from the original 151. Curiously, there appears to be only one original starter Pokémon evolutionary chain, and that's Charmander, Charmeleon, and Charizard. If this is true, that means Sword and Shield would have the least amount of Pokémon in a game across all versions, and many favorites will be missing. Hopefully this isn't the case, but it's likely you may have to say goodbye to your favorite team and try new monsters in the Galar region instead, if so.
The leaks do look consistent with the designs we've seen from Pokémon Sword and Shield in the past. However, if these leaks are truly from someone with the game who has the kind of access they purportedly do on Switch, why do all of these images look like blurry cell phone shots? There's one-button screenshot sharing on all models of the Switch that could make for very simple leaking. Perhaps the anonymous leaker is just snapping photos of materials from the office.
Either way, what's in store for Pokémon fanatics certainly does look intriguing. We'll have to see what all was correct and what was supposition when the games debut in a week or so.