This week, Nintendo has finally announced the news that gamers across the world have been waiting for: a brand new “Pokemon” game will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in late 2019.
In a live Nintendo Direct video on Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, Nintendo revealed the first look at two new games in the “Pokemon” family: “Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield.” In the seven-minute video, viewers received a preview of what is to come in the eighth generation (commonly referred to as Gen 8) of the series — a new map, three new starters and animation like we have never seen before.
While the new RPG (role-playing game), “Sword” and “Shield,” was announced for the Switch at E3 2017, Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct was the first mention of any details from the video game giant in two years.
“Sword” and “Shield” will be the first mainline games to appear on any home console, following the launch of the side series, “Pokemon: Let’s Go,” which were released on the Switch just last year. Both Gen 8 games will feature three-dimensional, cel-shaded animation, giving the games a look no previous game has ever sported.
In the preview, Nintendo executives debuted the first map of “Galar,” a new region that players can explore in “Sword” and “Shield.” True to the game’s elemental nature, the region features multiple terrains for adventurers to explore, including “an idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forest, and craggy, snow-covered mountains,” according to the Direct announcement. Some have hypothesized that the region’s design was inspired by the UK.
Players will conquer each terrain as they gather and train an elite Pokemon team in order to fight wild Pokemon, trainers and gym leaders across the region in an attempt “to be the very best.”
A new region is not all fans can expect in the new game. A new generation means all new Pokemon, including the three classic starters — grass, fire and water. Nintendo revealed the Gen 8 starters in a short animation during the live Direct video.
The first starter we are introduced to is Scorbunny — a fire-type rabbit Pokemon who is “always running about, bursting with energy.” The fire-starter easily hopped into players’ hearts with his sweet smile, round eyes and little bandaged nose.
The second starter is Sobble, a water-type lizard Pokemon. Sobble is described as “a bit timid,” but his anxious guise and wide, teary eyes instantly cemented the water-starter as a fan favorite.
Lastly, we meet Grookey, a grass-type chimp Pokemon. He’s a “mischievous Pokemon full of boundless curiosity,” according to the Direct release. Grookey’s small, sweet design instantly won fans over.
A few other well known Pokemon of previous generations appeared in the gameplay trailer, including Lucario, Munchlax, Tyranitar and Pikachu.
Throughout the two minute trailer, we are given hints of stadium-type Pokemon gyms, mysterious glyphs carved into stone and hillsides, various city designs across Galar and the familiar sight of random Pokemon encounters in tall grass. The trailer also provided a sneak peek of two playable character designs.
Though little is known about the starters, positive reactions to fanart and designs of the Pokemon filled the internet in just a few hours. With three years between Gen 7 (“Pokemon Sun and Moon”) and Gen 8, it is clear that Pokemon fans are eager for a new adventure to begin.
No clear release date has yet been announced for “Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield,” but the games have been slated to release in late 2019. Among two mainline games, the continuing development of “Pokemon Go” and the release of the Detective Pikachu film later this year, it is easy to say that both Nintendo and Pokemon fans will be very busy this year.