Ahead of all the big announcements and trailers coming at E3 2019, June 5’s special Pokemon Nintendo Direct had a lot to share. Unlike the platform holder’s broader Nintendo Switch E3 Direct set for next week, which will show off a number of games releasing in 2019, this presentation focused exclusively on the highly anticipated Pokemon Sword and Shield.
During the Pokemon Direct broadcast, Sword and Shield’s release date was confirmed, and we got a look at new Pokemon–including Legendaries–as well as new multiplayer features and open-world elements, among many other gameplay details. There are still some questions we have, such as whether random encounters are completely gone, as it appears, but we now have a much better understanding of Sword and Shield. That’s good news, considering their release is now just five months away.
If you missed the stream, don’t despair; you can catch a video recap above or rewatch the entire event below. It’s roughly 15 minutes long and packed with new Pokemon details, so get yourself some snacks and settle in. We’ve also rounded up all of the biggest news that came out of the stream for you to read below. Once you’ve made your way to the end of this article, you’ll be an expert on everything that has happened with Pokemon Sword and Shield so far.
Additionally, Nintendo has confirmed its E3 playable games lineup. Sword and Shield headline the list, although Luigi’s Mansion 3, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order will all be there, too. Animal Crossing for Switch was conspicuously absent, though that doesn’t preclude it (or anything else) from showing up during the Nintendo Direct on June 11.
Pokemon Sword And Shield Release Date Confirmed
During the Nintendo Direct, Pokemon developer Game Freak confirmed that Pokemon Sword / Shield’s release date is set for November 15. Better yet, it’s a global release date, so no one will be feeling left out when Poke-fever hits later this year. You can pre-order Sword and Shield now; in addition to the two standalone versions, a dual pack including both games will also be available.
Nintendo introduced us to Pokemon Sword and Shield’s new Legendary Pokemon. As you might expect, the two new Legendaries embody the “Sword” and “Shield” titles, with Zamazenta having a shield-like design and Zacian holding a sword-like item in its mouth.
New Characters And Story Details Revealed
Pokemon Sword and Shield’s story and characters were a key focus of the Direct event. We got to meet the Galar region’s Pokemon professor, your rival, and the Champion, and we learn that those giant stadiums we saw previously are Pokemon Gyms.
New Gen 8 Pokemon Revealed
Naturally, we got a look at some of the new Gen 8 Pokemon we’ll be able to catch, befriend, and battle in Sword and Shield. We also got a look at a variety of returning favorites from past generations.
One of the new battle elements we learned about involves something called Dynamax. This is an option you can activate once per battle to grow your Pokemon to incredible size, allowing them to utilize more powerful versions of their abilities.
Tied into Dyanmaxing is a new type of encounter that is clearly inspired by Pokemon Go: Raid Battles. These pit four trainers against a single enemy that will be Dynamaxed for the entire fight. Defeat it, and you’ll have a chance to catch it. Your fellow trainers can be actual players, but if you don’t have a group of four, the AI will fill in as needed.
Rather than the standard Pokedex, Sword and Shield gives players a Rotom Phone. This not only is used to track your collection, but it also fulfills other functions, including apparently serving as a replacement for HMs from past games.
Last year’s Pokemon games for Switch, Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu, did away with random encounters of favor of a system where you could see wild Pokemon roaming in the wild. Those had been expected to return in Sword and Shield, but based on today’s presentation, it looks as if random encounters are gone.
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