Developed by Game Freak, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are set in the Galar region. Starter Pokémon include curious grass-type chimp Grookey, energetic fire-type rabbit Scorbunny, and stealthy water-type lizard Sobble.
Today’s release date announcement was made during a Nintendo Direct broadcast, which you can watch in full above.
It included a host of new gameplay details, including the ability to Dynamax, which makes Pokémon giant in size and boosts their power. This can only be triggered in certain locations, and can be used once per battle with Pokémon reverting to normal after three turns.
The Wild Area stretching between the cities of Galar is where players will encounter most Pokémon, with different ones appearing depending on where players are and what the weather’s like. Players have control over the game camera in the Wild Area, enabling them to search more effectively.
Max Raid Battles let four players team up to take on Dynamaxing Pokémon in the Wild Area. Pokémon will remain in the powerful state for the whole battle. Only one player from each team will be able to Dynamax during these encounters, which can be played locally or online.
During the presentation, Pokémon Sword and Shield art director James Turner introduced a few of the new Pokémon that populate the Galar region.
These include sheep Pokémon Wooloo, whose defining characteristic is its fluffy fur, which is treasured by weavers who use it to craft popular speciality goods.
Raven Pokémon Corviknight is a flying taxi which will take players back to any town they’ve previously visited, while the vicious and difficult to tame Bite Pokémon Drednaw can chew off chunks of rock and iron.
Flowering Pokémon Gossifleur’s pollen is said to have healing properties. When it evolves, it becomes Cotton Bloom Pokémon Eldegoss, with small seeds scattered across its head, which are said to promote growth in plants, and revitalise both people and Pokémon.
People you’ll encounter on your adventure include Pokémon trainer and champion Leon, and his younger brother Hop, who’s another of your rivals. Players and Hop will receive advice from professor Magnolia, who researches the Dynamax phenomena, and her assistant and granddaughter Sonia. Gym leaders you’ll meet include grass-type expert Milo.
The Nintendo Direct broadcast also introduced the Legendary Pokémon Zacian, which holds a sword in its mouth, and Zamazenta, whose body is covered in a shield.