November 15 is approaching fast, and that means we're that much closer to getting Pokémon Sword and Shield in our hands. The Pokémon Company has been ramping up with early peeks at what Pokémon Sword and Shield will offer in terms of new creatures to catch, more rivals to meet, and ridiculously humongous versions of your favorite pocket monsters. And the info keeps flowing in as interviews with the developers and early demo reviews reveal more about the series' first step onto a console.
Here are a few things to look forward to as we get closer to the game's release.
New updates on familiar mechanics
The series' lead producer, Junichi Masuda, and general director, Shigeru Ohmori, have spoken at length in interviews about their desire to keep the game familiar to long-time fans while providing a fun introduction to new players. It's a delicate balance to manage, but the developers have had it on their minds for years as they continued to make new Pokémon games.
A few new features include some mechanics that were inspired by the the Pokémon side games. Sword and Shield will have raid battles like Pokémon GO, where players can team up with friends or computer-controlled teams to take down a giant foe. The Pokémon Let's Go series for the Nintendo Switch also brought in some aesthetic choices, like making Pokémon visible in the field — something the handheld games didn't have.
It's a blend of new and old features that the developers hope will be interesting to fans no matter how they discovered their first Pokémon experience. Players who started with the mobile games, the handheld games, or even the Detective Pikachu movie can all find something to enjoy. The goal, Ohmori said in an interview with Eurogamer, is to "encourage people to discover Pokémon as a whole, and enjoy all the different aspects of that."
Camping with your Pokémon
Pokémon Amie — a mechanic first introduced in Pokémon X and Y — was a delightful feature that allowed players to finally pet their Pokémon's heads and give them little treats. Sword and Shield is looking to expand on that with a new camp feature that gives you more room to play with your precious Pokémon.
As seen in a trailer, you can pitch a tent and take a break from your adventure to play ball or watch your team run around. Unlike Amie, where you could only focus on one Pokémon at a time, it seems like you can see multiple Pokémon from your team all at once. This is perfect for when you need that extra super dose of cuteness in your life.
There's a multiplayer aspect to this feature, too. Trainers will be able to visit other camps full of Pokémon and work together to create an enormous pot of curry for their creatures. Depending on the recipe, your Pokémon will receive different benefits from eating the curry.
But why curry? To the Western audience, curry and rice is a bit of an unusual dish to choose for camping. According to an interview with Eurogamer, the developers received word from a designer on the team that curry was popular to eat in the United Kingdom. They decided to mash both Japanese and U.K. cultures together.
"Something that's perhaps uniquely Japanese is, when you think of camping, you think of eating curry rice," Ohmori explained, "so that's where this kind of curry-making minigame was inspired."
Masuda added, "[A]ll our Pokémon fans should definitely try going out camping. Make a curry as well, put the barbeque meat on a curry, have a good time! If you see people making a curry when they're camping, you know they're Pokémon fans."
Increased customization options
Another feature that debuted in Pokémon X and Y was the ability to customize your trainer. It was a massive hit — not only could you change your character's clothes, but you could also pick different skin tones and hair color as well. It was a big first for the series.
Sword and Shield looks to be aiming higher in terms of customization options. Not only are there more hairstyles and clothes, but you can also adjust the thickness of your trainer's eyebrows and pick the type of pose for your trainer card that suits you best. There's more personalization to be had in the game and more options to express your personality better.
New looks for legacy Pokémon
Last, but not least, there are new 'versions' of Pokémon in Sword and Shield that are bound to get some long-time fans excited. Ponyta, a small pony-looking Pokémon with fire for a mane and tail, now looks like a pastel unicorn straight from a storybook. And a first-generation Pokémon, Farfetch'd, has a new evolution thanks to the new Sword and Shield region. Sirfetch'd, a white duck with a leaf shield and leek sword, swept social media away with its dashing eyebrows and noble expression.
All of this is just scratching the surface of what's to come. Thanks to the power of the Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Sword and Shield is bound to have a few surprises for old and new fans alike. Trainers can expect to find new things to enjoy when the games release on November 15.