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Pokemon Sword & Shield: release date, starter Pokemon, setting and more

It’s time for a new Pokemon generation, and soon trainers will be able to adventure in a new world in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield.

Pokemon Sword and Shield represent a major shift for Pokemon: it’s the first time the series has ventured off Nintendo’s current handheld system to bring the main series to a full-power console – though of course that transfer is aided by the fact that Nintendo’s Switch is both portable and TV-bound all at once.

“Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are the latest exciting adventures in the Pokémon video game journey that began twenty-three years ago,” Pokemon Company boss Tsunekazu Ishihara said of the announcement. “Since then, Trainers around the world have discovered new Pokémon, engaged in epic battles, and made countless memories along the way. We look forward to continuing this journey by exploring a stunning new region in the Pokémon universe when the games launch later this year on Nintendo Switch.”

It all looks pretty great – and developer Game Freak says that they’re aiming to make this the “greatest Pokemon yet”. After a step back into a more simplistic, beginner-friendly design in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, this game is meant to be a fully-fledged, properly complex Pokemon experience once again.

On this page, we’ll update regularly with everything we know about Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield – so bookmark it and keep checking back as we get closer to its release at the end of the year, as new Pokemon and features are announced.

Pokemon Sword & Shield starter Pokemon: meet Grooky, Scorbunny and Sobble

As always, trainers in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will get a choice between one of three all-new starter Pokemon as they begin their adventure in the Galar Region, an all-new area of the Pokemon World we’ve never seen before. As always the three starter Pokemon fall into the Fire, Grass and Water types, though who knows how they’ll evolve. Which are you going to choose? Here’s the new starter trio…

  • Grookey (Grass Starter): A mischievous Chimp Pokémon that is full of boundless curiosity.
  • Scorbunny (Fire Starter): A Rabbit Pokémon that is always running about, bursting with energy.
  • Sobble (Water Starter): A somewhat timid Water Lizard Pokémon that shoots out attacks as it hides itself in the water.

As it stands right now, we don’t know anything about what the evolutions of these new starter Pokemon will be like, or what secondary Pokemon types their evolved forms will take on. As that becomes clear we’ll update this page, of course.

Pokemon Sword & Shield Setting: The Galar Region

As always, a new Pokemon game means a new region of the Pokemon world to explore. The Pokemon world is much like our own, and past games have seen areas of the land, regions, based on places from the real world. Pokemon X and Y took place in an area designed to evoke part of France, for instance. Pokemon Black and White were based on New York City and the surrounding areas. Pokemon Sun and Moon was one of the most obvious settings to decipher, clearly based off Hawaii. Many of the original games are likewise based on various areas of Japan.

In Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, the region you’ll be exploring is the Galar region – and it appears to be based off part of the UK. The map has some recognizable nods to the UK and actually looks a little like the UK flipped upside down if you look carefully. On top of that, there’s a distinct old-English feel to what we’ve seen of the world so far. We’ll likely soon learn if that is correct via interviews – and a confirmation that this is a region near to Kalos, which is based off France, would also confirm that.

The Pokemon Company describe Galar as “an expansive region with diverse environments— an idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forest, and craggy, snow-covered mountains. The people and the Pokemon who live there work together closely to develop the industries in the region. Fans will have the opportunity to visit various Gyms in the Galar region in their quest to become Champion.”

Galar will of course be home to new breeds of Pokemon – though we haven’t been introduced to any apart from the starter Pokemon just yet.

Pokemon Sword & Shield release date

Right now we don’t know an exact release date for Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, but we do at least have a broad window: the game will launch in “late 2019”. It’ll likely join Animal Crossing as a formidable title for Nintendo’s Switch holiday season.

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