As promised last week, Nintendo today held another one of its Direct presentations, and this one was focused on the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield titles, which are coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year. These games mark the beginning of the eighth generation of Pokémon games, and with today's presentation, we now know that the games will be available worldwide on November 15.
The team at Game Freak, the company which develops the main series of Pokémon titles, also revealed more details about the two games. While the games do feature a lot of familiar elements, there are some new twists for this generation, some of which are seemingly inspired by spin-off titles such as Pokémon GO.
One big new feature is the Wild Area, a new place that connects cities and towns in the games in a less linear way than what previous games have done. The Wild Area is expansive, and for the first time in a Pokémon game, players can actually control the camera independently from their character's movement, letting them look around the scenery.
What's more, wild Pokémon seem to roam this area visibly, similarly to how you'd find them in Pokémon GO or Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu! and Let's Go Eevee! It's not clear that players can actually attempt to capture these roaming Pokémon, though, and the traditional way of encountering them also seems to still be in place, so there's a good chance that both methods will persist.
There are even more interesting things about the Wild Area, with a new feature called Max Raid Battles, which, again, seem to be very much inspired by Pokémon GO and its Raid Battles. Basically, you can connect to other players either via local wireless or through the internet, and certain spots in the Wild Area will let up to four people join forces to fight an oversized, very powerful version of a Pokémon, and then capture it if they're successful.
During these battles, one of the four players can also supersize one of their Pokémon through a method called Dynamax, which makes both the Pokémon and its moves significantly stronger. Dynamaxing is a key feature of Pokémon Sword and Shield, and it'll also be used by some of the stronger trainers in the game. The Dynamax transformation can only be used once per battle, and it lasts for just three turns, so players will need to consider those limitations before engaging it.
Making a return in these games are Gyms and their Gym Leaders. This time around, Gym battles are held in huge stadiums, which can accommodate the Dynamax forms of Pokémon. Battles seem to be a popular form of entertainment for the characters in this game, meaning stadiums will have large crowds watching the battles, and they're also aired on television. Apparently, this means that the camera in battles moves more freely around the Pokémon on the battlefield, as it can clearly be seen moving around the stadium on its own.
Finally, Game Freak announced a few new creatures being introduced for the first time in these games. Most notably, there are the two Pokémon that are featured in the box art for each of the games, with the sword-wielding creature being called Zacian, while the shield-bearing one is called Zamazenta. Five other Pokémon were revealed: Wooloo, Gossifleur, Eldegoss, Drednaw, and Corviknight.
As mentioned above, the games will be released worldwide on November 15, and there will be a double pack available, containing a copy of each version. It costs the same as buying the two games separately, so there's no visible advantage to buying the double pack unless you like collecting game boxes. If you're interested, you can watch the full Direct presentation here, and pre-order the games from the official website.