The 'Pokémon Sword and Shield' release date is here, along with a slew of new details
Pokémon fans around the globe were treated to a special 15-minute presentation on Wednesday featuring a slew of new details about the upcoming Nintendo Switch entries, Pokémon Sword and Shield. Ahead of the games' newly-confirmed November 2019 debut, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company revealed new Pokémon, new ways to capture and battle with them, and a plethora of other exciting details, many of which are series first. If you've ever wanted to engage in group Pokémon battles with friends, now's your chance.
Some of the most intriguing revelations included the new "Dynamax" ability to make your Pokémon grow to an enormous size in battle, gaining strength and power beyond measure. It will be used heavily in a new multiplayer feature called Max Raid Battles, which will find players teaming up to defeat enormous Pokémon and earning the chance to capture them at the end of the brawl.
The Dynamax phenomenon is a first for the series, and it can be found specifically throughout certain areas of the Galar region, where Pokémon Sword and Shield will take place. Trainers who use a special item in battle called the Dynamax Band can use the Dynamax ability to make their Pokémon grow larger, though some apparently will simply appear like this when trainers happen upon them out in the wild.
When Trainers call upon the Dynamax power, Pokémon will remain large and souped-up with special abilities called Max Moves, based on the fighting moves they already know for three turns. This means you'll need to be especially strategic when employing Dynamax transformations.
Dynamaxed Pokémon will play an important role in the game's new Max Raid Battles, which take place in the wide expanse of Pokémon Sword and Shield's new Wild Area, where wild Pokémon can be caught. Up to four trainers can work together to fight off a Pokémon that's been Dynamaxed, though unlike the regular three-turn rule in battle, this Pokémon will remain the large size for the duration of the battle, as well as possess additional powers.
The team of trainers fighting against it will only be equipped with one Pokémon that can use Dynamaxing, so players will have to coordinate a strike against the enemy if they want to emerge victorious. At the end of the battle, the defeated Pokémon will be available for capture.
Some Pokémon will only be available as part of Max Raid Battles, so it'll be important to take these encounters seriously if you want to become a full-fledged Pokémon master. Players can work together via wireless multiplayer with multiple Nintendo Switch systems, or play online with Nintendo Switch Online service. If there are no additional players around, the game will fill your party with computer-controlled support Trainers to assist.
Dynamaxing will also be integral to the game's Pokémon Gym battles, which take place in massive stadiums found throughout the Galar region, attracting various trainers in droves as if it were a large sporting event in the real world. With Pokémon growing to enormous sizes and Gyms built to accommodate these battles, Gym fights in Pokémon Sword and Shield will be a spectacle, bigger than ever before throughout the series.
One of the first Gym leaders shown off in the latest batch of Pokémon footage is Milo, the Grass Gym Leader, who you'll face off against in special endurance matches fighting against Grass-type Pokémon. These battles are broadcast on television throughout the in-game world, so you'll have to make sure you show the trainers of Galar what you're really made of.
In addition to information about the Pokémon battle transformations, Gym leaders, and other important tidbits, new Pokémon were introduced during the presentation. Starter Pokémon Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble were showcased once more, giving fans a look at what the Grass-type, Fire-type, and Water-type monsters will look like as they start off the game with their favorite chosen companion. But there were others on display as well, like the Flowering Pokémon Gossifleur, that evolves into the cotton bloom-like Eldegoss.
The Sheep Pokémon Wooloo is a fluffy, adorable little guy that has fur prized by the people of Galar, and the Raven Pokémon Corviknight is a fearsome raven that flies the skies with ease. It's used by the Galar Taxi company to help ferry people from town to town, which may mean Corviknight ends up replacing the need for trainers to use the "Fly" ability to do that from other games. Finally, Drednaw, the Bite Pokémon, is a fearsome monster with jagged fangs that can bite through rock and iron. It will likely be a formidable opponent in battle, but it could also be a great ally for anyone that has the patience to train one.
Pokémon Sword and Shield will mark the first core (non-spinoff) Pokémon games on the Nintendo Switch aside from Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, as the series makes the jump from Nintendo 3DS to a more modern set of games on the Nintendo handheld. The games are set to debut on November 15, so if you're looking to embark on a new Pokémon adventure by then, you might want to brush up on your skills by playing through some of the old games first. This one is going to push your abilities to the limit, it seems.