If you haven’t been on social media in the past 24 hours, you may not know that Nintendo and the Pokemon Company announced the newest generation of Pokemon in a direct yesterday morning. Pokemon Sword and Shield. The game is scheduled to release in ‘late 2019’ exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. We got our first look of the Galar region, inspired by Great Britain, and an introduction to the starter Pokemon. Fans were buzzing and predictions have started to get made about the game. It’s safe to say that I am a little excited about it. After being slightly disappointed and blasting through Sun and Moon in less than 20 hours and casually playing ‘Let’s Go Eevee,’ I’m ready for a completely new game. So here are six things that I want in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
The ‘Let’s Go’ Wild Encounter Formula
We can all agree that in Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee the catching mechanic that was taken from Pokemon Go was one of the worst parts of the game. Finding good berry to Pokeball ratios while trying to determine what would work with the Pokemon made the act of catching new pokemon mundane and sometimes difficult. However, wild encounter formula made up for it. Being able to avoid four thousand Zubats in a cave has been a dream since 1996. Being able to seek out which pokemon you wanted and which you didn’t, made navigating the game flawless. Let’s hope that Sword/Shield has a perfect balance of a traditional catch mechanic and the new wild encounter formula.
There are a couple of seconds in the trailer we got that shows a variety of trainers dressed for battle in a stadium. And what else does that make you think of? Why Pokemon Stadium of course. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it was a series on the Nintendo 64 released in 1998. It took just the competition battle aspect from the main series and made it its own standalone game. One could argue that most current generation Pokemon games have some sort of feature that’s similar to Pokemon Stadium. But with updated graphics and new Pokemon, walking into a stadium to find out it’s just like one of your favorite childhood games would be a great surprise to old trainers and new trainers.
More ‘Pokemon Go’ Integration
Although Pokemon Go may have lost it’s cool over the last couple of years, it’s hard to argue that it had some pretty neat features. The Switch is just as portable as a phone, so optional walking based features can easily be ported over into Sword/Shield. Walking to hatch eggs and gain items for your Pokemon would be an exciting feature that would make the game more mobile.
Exciting Starter Evolutions
After the direct, most players could agree on one thing. The starters were cute, but they were still ‘meh.’ They all blend together and look quite similar to older generations of Pokemon. We have no doubt that when they evolve they’ll be 10 times cooler, but after the lackluster starters of Sun and Moon, fans of the series need something more.
Great Online Play
Nintendo keeps teasing us with its new online service. Other than the few NES games you get a month that we’ve played a million times, they only thing we’re getting to do is play online on a few titles. The online portion of Sword/Shield has so much potential. If you’ve played the newer 3DS titles in the series, you know there are tons of things to do online; shop, battle, trade, you name it. But this Switch entry could do more. Imagine being able to play co-op, in the ‘Let’s Go’ style with people all around the world. Throw in some region exclusives that can only be caught through this mode, and make my $20 a year worth it.
I’m not sure how many people were a fan of this in Pokemon Sun and Moon, but the Alolan variants of gen one Pokemon were a great addition to my Pokedex. Galar variants of different gen one Pokemon would make the hunt even more exciting. And just think, if they kept doing that, in 10 years we could have a whole other gen one made up of variants.
Did I get carried away thinking about this new game? Yes. Did I cry yesterday during the announcement? Absolutely. After Pokemon Sun and Moon let down many fans when it came to a new installment in the franchise, Pokemon Sword and Shield needs to be the revival for the series. And putting it on the Switch for thousands of new Nintendo fans to play is an exciting thing to think about. Here’s to a ‘late 2019’ release date!