The next generation of Pokémon games has finally been announced as part of today's Pokémon Day celebrations, with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2019.
Pokémon Sword & Shield were first mentioned at E3 2017 when Tsunekazu Ishihara announced the next generation of Pokémon games would be coming to the Nintendo Switch, which would make them the first mainline games in the series to be released on a home console. There has been no other information released about the games until today, save for the fact that they were still on track for a 2019 release and that they would be something that the fans would love. There have been rumors of the next Pokémon games being set in a region based on England and that they would be called Pokémon Crown & Scepter, but no concrete information had leaked online.
A Pokémon Direct was held today that officially announced Pokémon Sword & Shield for the Nintendo Switch. Pokémon Sword & Shield are set in a new region called Galar, which appears to be based on the United Kingdom. The evidence for Galar being based on the UK stems from a structure in the trailer that resembles Big Ben, the repeated glimpses of the countryside, and the industrial elements that are shown in the cities within the trailer. The fact that the male protagonist is shown wearing soccer gear is also a huge clue to the region's inspiration, as football is the most beloved sport in the UK.
The Pokémon Direct also confirmed that Gyms would be returning to the series, as they had previously been replaced by the Island challenge in Pokémon Sun & Moon. The trailer also confirmed that Pokémon Sword & Shield would be released at the end of 2019, which is something that fans had begun to doubt, considering the lack of information that had been released about the game until today. It's kind of surprising that the game is being saved for the holiday season and won't be released alongside Detective Pikachu, which is set to be one of the biggest movies of the summer.
Pokémon Sword & Shield have incredible visuals that appear to be an upgrade of the aesthetic used in the Pokémon: Let's Go games. The world map shown in the trailer seemed to be quite barren in terms of people and Pokémon, but that could be chalked up to the fact that the game is still in development and the producers want to keep the identity of the new wild Pokémon a secret until they're ready to be shown to the public.
The last Nintendo Direct was lacking in any games that could be considered system sellers, but the Pokémon Direct that was held today may have given the Switch its must-have games for 2019, as the biggest game with a concrete 2019 release date before today was a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Pokémon Sword & Shield will most likely be the Nintendo Switch's biggest title in the 2019 holiday season, which is something that the Switch's schedule for the year has desperately needed, especially with the lack of information about the next Animal Crossing game and Metroid Prime 4 being delayed.
The Pokémon series is about to take a huge leap forward in terms of visuals, but we'll have to wait for more information before we can decide whether the gameplay and story will also be an improvement over the earlier games in the series.
Pokémon Sword & Shield will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in late 2019.