The eighth generation of Pokémon games was officially announced yesterday during a Pokémon-themed Nintendo Direct presentation celebrating the 23rd Anniversary of the franchise.
The games, entitled Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, are the first mainline entries the franchise has seen since Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon back in 2017. The trailer released alongside this announcement reveals a return to classic Pokémon RPG tradition. Random encounter battles with wild Pokémon appear to be returning, as do Pokémon gyms. The developers also appear to be introducing stadium battles into this latest iteration of the Pokémon brand, bringing the games closer to the sort of tournaments we’ve seen in the Pokémon anime series.
The games will take place in the new region of Galar – a diverse setting that offers an eclectic mix of sprawling industrial cities, verdant countryside, dense woodland, and snow-capped mountains. Allegedly based on the UK, the game world features rolling green hills, quaint ivy-covered cottages, and cityscapes full of gothic architecture, lending Galar’s urban environments an air reminiscent of the Victorian Industrial Revolution.
Pokémon Sword and Shield will contain a mix of old and new Pocket Monsters to catch and train, and as with all new Pokémon games players will get to choose from three new starter Pokémon: The Fire-Type Scorbunny, the Grass-type Grookey, and the Water-type Sobble. All of which are featured in the image below.
At this time it is believed that the games will release exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, officially lifting the Pokémon brand into the new era Nintendo has created by merging its home console and portable handheld platforms together. It’s been 23 years since Pokémon first graced our screens, I guess it was about time the franchise ‘evolved’.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are slated for a late 2019 release, in line with past games in the franchise’s history.