Three years after the release of Pokemon Sun/Moon and two years after the release of Pokemon UltraSun/UltraMoon, Nintendo announced the 8th Gen Pokemon games Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. Anyone who’s been following the series since the 2nd Gen should know by now the names are a direct reference to the cover legendary for each game.
- Gold/HeartGold and Silver/SoulSilver = Ho-Oh and Lugia
- Ruby/OmegaRuby, Sapphire/AlphaSapphire and Emerald = Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza
- Diamond, Pearl and Platinum = Dialga, Palkia and Giratina
- Black/Black2 and White/White 2 = Zekrom, Reshiram and Kyurem
- X and Y = Xerneas and Yveltal
- Sun/UltraSun and Moon/UltraMoon = Solgaleo, Lunala and Necrozma
…The same should be assumed for Sword and Shield’s yet to be revealed cover legendaries. The game takes place in the Galar Region and the games will be released on the Nintendo Switch. This tells me two things. One is we have confirmation Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee! was a market test to see if the two-version model the main series Pokemon games are known for would work on a home console. It looks like the answer is now yes and it took 14 years since the release of Nintendo’s first console with Online capabilities–the Wii–for this to happen. The other thing this tells me is Nintendo is confident both games will be profitable on the Switch.
As a reminder, the trademark of the main series Pokemon games is two versions with some pokemon you can only catch in one game or the other one (though you will see all Pokemon in both games). About 10% will be exclusive to one version. This has been the standard since the first gen and is different from say, starter Pokemon. For example Vulpix is exclusive to Blue while Growlithe is exclusive to Red. You can catch Ponyta, which is also a Fire Pokemon in both games. You can catch Solrock in Ruby/OmegaRuby while you can only catch Lunatone in Sapphire/AlphaSapphire.
If you want a Pokemon not found in your game, you will have to trade with someone who has the other game. The introduction of Online Trading and the Global Trade Station (GTS) in the 4th Gen helped level the playing field for collectors who neither know or live near someone who owns the other Pokemon game. Now you could just get one via the GTS. Excluding legendaries, all version exclusive Pokemon can be bred as well so once you get one, you can breed it with a Ditto to make more.
…It goes without saying I now have a good incentive to buy a Switch though I’ll have to crowdfund at this point given my situation. The link to my PayPal is below ^_^
Moving on, let the speculation commence! Other than the starter Pokemon, the name of the region, the platform it’s being released on and the release window we know nothing about Sword and Shield. Nintendo’s gotten better at not giving away too much early since the 6th Gen so…yeah.
Here’s what I am am expecting we will see introduced or expanded upon:
- An over the top battle mechanic like Z-Moves and Mega Evolution. There’s speculation the names of the games indicate certain Pokemon could be “equipped” by other Pokemon like equipment. Honedge, Doubledge and Aegislash (from the 6th Gen) immediately comes to mind.
- More Older Pokemon included. The trailer showcased Tyranitar and Flygon, which tells me there will be a mix of Pokemon from past gens like the 6th Gen did. The 6th gen actually had the lowest number of new Pokemon introduced since the 2nd gen at 71 and much of it was due to Mega Evolution involving the final evolutions of older Pokemon.
- New Evolution Methods. You’d be surprised how many people (still) don’t know you need to turn the Nintendo 3DS upside-down when Inkay reaches level 30 (or later) to evolve it into Malamar. It makes use of the handheld’s gyroscopic feature. Once you see the “What? Inkay is evolving!” message you can safely turn it right-side up again.
- Balanced difficulty. Many series vets noted the increased difficulty of the Totem Pokemon Battles–even with the correct typing used against them. Most agree starting the battle at a significant disadvantage is pretty unfair to those who unlike me don’t have access to Pokemon from the the previou gens that can just be imported to curb-stomp them. A more forgiving learning curb should be expected.
- Backwards Pokemon transfer compatability obviously. I see Nintendo doing one of two things. One is a one-way transfer like we saw with 4th to 5th, 5th to 6th, 1st (Virtual Console versions) to 6th and 1st, 2nd (also Virtual Console versions) and 6th to 7th. The other is a Switch version of Pokemon Bank being released with the abilility to access Pokemon from the 3DS Bank. This could be a problem for me since I have two 3DS consoles and thus, two copies of Pokemon Bank but I have no problem just using one if forced to.
- Z-Moves and Mega Evolution can be used. Hopefully not locked out until the postgame. I hated the explaination for Mega Evolution being left out of the main game and being nerfed in the 7th Gen.
- The cover legendaries are Blue and Red respectively. Not necessarily Water and Fire Types. Xerneas is Blue but is a Fairy Pokemon while Yveltal is Red but is a Dark/Flying Pokemon. So…yeah. Likewise, Groudon is Red but is actually a Ground Type despite learning Fire Type moves (great coverage by the way) though it does gain the Fire type when it Mega Evolves into Primal Groudon.
- Past Legendaries can be caught during the Postgame. The trend was introduced in the 6th Gen OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire where you can catch all the legendaries from the previous games during the postgame. It was brought back in UltraSun and UltraMoon. We should expect it again in the 8th Gen. We may even see a cross-gen kind of thing like we saw with Mewtwo being in postgame Kalos though.
…Those are the minimums I am expecting.
Now, let’s get on to what I’d like to see:
- New Type introduced. The Fairy Type introduced in the 6th Gen was the first new type introduced since Steel and Dark types were introduced back in the 2nd Gen. The Fairy Type turned several Pokemon who were Normal types up to then into Fairy Pokemon (Audino, Snubbull, Chansey, etc.). In the case of Marrill and Azumarrill, it gained a second typing. The same thing happened to Magnemite (and its evolutions), which gained the Steel type in the 2nd Gen. I do think the time is now to introduce a new Type or two.
- New Eevee form. Sylveon was introduced in the 6th Gen, which made sense since the Fairy type was also introduced in the same Gen. I do think that in time, we will see an Eevee form for every single type. The count is at 7 right now. It would be really, really cool if we saw version-exclusive Eevee forms to mix things up.
- No more SOS Mechanics. Seriously I hated it. No more please!
- More kinds of Ride Pokemon. The Alolan choices set the standard. As of the 7th Gen, HM moves are retired. I would like to see you being able to use your own Pokemon to ride instead of summoning one in though.
- Trainer Vocations and Specializations. I think the time is now to introduce a “Job” or “Class” mechanic. For example Bug Catcher, Swimmer or Breeder. Each Vocation would carry its own set of perks for you to use in and out of battle.
- OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire style flying. I was seriously disappointed this wasn’t brought back in the 7th Gen games. I’m talking summoning a Pokemon and literally flying across the region on it. That was awesome!
…That’s my short list anyway.
It is fair to say Sword and Shield must be massive games for Nintendo to put them on the Switch instead of the New Nintendo 3DS. Well, that and Nintendo is clearly looking to get holdouts like myself to buy a Switch. Well, congrats Nintendo. I will buy a Switch once I have the money. Just one Switch though. Even I think it would be insane to buy two consoles. Two handhelds is a different and only if you’ve bought a lot of games like me.
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