At a Pokémon Direct on Wednesday morning, Nintendo announced a ton of new details about the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield titles. We already knew that the two games are the next official entry to the main series of the franchise. That means a brand new region, new Pokémon, and of course, a bunch of new friendly critters to choose from for the game’s start.
But this recent Direct also confirmed a release date on Nintendo Switch—November 15, 2019—and some long-anticipated features that will appear in Sword and Shield. One of the most exciting features here is the new “Dynamax” function, which allows you to super-size your Pokémon for three turns in battle. It’ll make your little Beanie Babies go full Kaiju, enabling them with scale and might to challenge the other gigantic Pokémon that you will encounter throughout the new Galar region.
Also announced was the inclusion of co-op Online Raids. This should come as no surprise to fans of the series who’ve been enjoying Pokémon Go. The new feature, which seems much more complex and robust than the teeny mobile-sized Go mode, lets four players face off with one Dynamax Pokémon at a same time. That’s a big upgrade for Nintendo, a company that has shied away from online, multiplayer mechanics for years now. Time will tell if they can pull it off.
But perhaps the most exciting announcement of the Direct was the new sheep Pokémon called Wooloo. Described on Pokémon’s website as “a friendly Pokémon that craves stability,” Wooloo is fluffy and has pigtails, and we would die for her. The official site also says, “[Wooloos] dislike conflict, and if they need to escape from enemies, they will simply roll away.” So pure.
The end of the Direct also revealed two new legendary Pokémon for the series: Zacian, who carries a sword in its mouth, and Zamazenta, who has a shield for a face. So there ya go, Pokémon Masters. That’s why the game is called Sword and Shield. No word on whether the weapons in these wolves’ mouths are organic, or if they stole them from some weird medieval collector’s basement.
Pokémon Sword and Shield will likely have a lot of people talking about visuals. Looking mostly in line with the third-person perspective seen in Pokémon Sun and Moon, the game’s visual style seems to blend the 3D console precedent set by the Let’s Go series on the Switch with the lowered camera angle and more stylized graphical world of the Generation VII games. The new region, called Galar, appears a bit industrial and old-world. It certainly looks like a bold new vision for the series.
When Pokémon Let’s Go was announced back in May of 2018, many devout fans of the franchise worried that Nintendo had given up on the diehard crowd. The Let’s Go series, which obviously catered to more casual, younger audiences, was like a cross between nostalgia bait and light entertainment. It was not for the serious Pokémon devotees. But with the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield game releasing in November for Switch, it looks like superfans are finally getting what they wished for: the first full-fledged console Pokémon game.