'Pokémon Sword and Shield' Release Date, Region, Starters, and More to Know

Here's everything we know about the Gen 8 Pokémon games.

Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokémon Company officially revealed Pokémon Sword and Shield on February 27, announcing the eighth generation of Pokémon games coming to Nintendo Switch later this year. Here’s everything we learned about the Gen 8 Pokémon titles, from release date details to the new region, to our incredible three new starter Pokémon.

'Pokémon Sword and Shield'

The Pokémon Company

When Is thePokémon Sword and Shield release Date?

We didn’t get an exact date, but the two new games will release in “late 2019.” Nintendo also said we can expect more from The Pokémon Company around that time, so you can look forward to plenty of Pokémon news later this year.

'Pokémon Sword and Shield'

The Pokémon Company

Where Does Pokémon Sword and Shield Take Place?

A new Pokémon game means a new region, and this one is called Galar. It’s a big map filled with “vast plains” and “craggy snow covered mountains.” Galar also looks like a pretty advanced society, with big, industrialized cities and a working train system that you’ll hopefully be able to use. There’s a bit of a steampunk vibe, too, with lots of exposed turning gears powering the cities we saw in the initial trailer.

'Pokémon Sword and Shield'

The Pokémon Company

Who Are the New Starters in Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Almost every Pokémon game offers three starter Pokémon for you to choose from when you set out on your adventure, and Gen 8 is no different. There’s Grookey, a grass-type chimp Pokémon; Score-bunny, a fire rabbit; and a shy, water-type creature named Sobble. All three are adorable and intriguing, but Score-bunny seems to be the early fan favorite.

What Are the New Legendary Pokémon in Sword and Shield?

We don’t know for sure, but we do have one theory based on a screenshot from the initial trailer. Could this ancient stone carving hint at a legendary Pokémon in the new game?

The Pokémon Company

Read more to find out.

How Does Pokémon Sword and Shield Compare to Let’s Go?

Well, for one thing, the previous (and first) Pokémon RPG for Switch was more of a Pokemon Yellow reboot with better visuals and 3D graphics. Sword and Shield is a brand-new adventure with new Pokémon and a new story, though old favorites like Pikachu and Lucario will show up as well.

More importantly, it looks like Pokémon Sword and Shield will ditch one of the most annoying changes introduced in Let’s Go: the Pokémon GO catching mechanic. This initial footage seems to suggest that you’ll have to battle wild Pokémon to catch them instead of just chucking Poké Balls and feeding them berries. That’s big news for anyone who preferred the old methods over the ones we got in Pokémon GO and Let’s Go.

Of course, this is just a first look at Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Nintendo was careful to note this isn’t even the final version of the game. So changes could be coming to the visual style and other features, but for now, Gen 8 looks like the great Pokémon experience on Switch that Nintendo fans have been waiting for. We can’t wait.

Pokémon Sword and Shield launches in late 2019 for Nintendo Switch.

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