The Most Surprising Details in the Pokemon Sword and Shield Nintendo Direct
Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokémon Company held a Pokémon Direct for Pokémon Sword and Shield this morning, and a bunch of new information – including that vital piece of the puzzle, the release date – was revealed. So…what did we think of the Direct? We gathered our biggest Poke-fans, Miranda Sanchez and Casey DeFreitas, to hash out the biggest surprises (and a particularly unsurprising detail) that were.
Miranda: Any morning that starts with Pokemon Direct is a good morning. Casey, our Pokemon Master, what did you think about the Direct?!
Casey: My hype for Pokemon Sword and Shield is absolutely invigorated after seeing this Direct! They showed off so many surprising changes, and I am mostly here for them.
Miranda: Let’s start with maybe the most surprising change: no random encounters.
Casey: Contrary to what we thought after seeing the reveal trailer, it looks like random encounters – a staple in all of the main entry Pokemon games – are gone for good. In this Direct, they showed roaming Pokemon that can be approached for battle. They’re taking a page out of Pokemon Let’s Go, obviously.
Miranda: Though there is a degree of randomness when you’re wandering through tall grass and cave. You’ll see an exclamation point pop up, and you can approach it to engage a mystery Pokemon in battle.
Casey: I’m honestly completely ok with that change, but the biggest surprise – and I mean that literally – are the Dynamax Pokemon feature. Using an item called the Dynamax Band in certain areas, Pokemon can grow huge. With their embiggening, their moves also receive a “Max” upgrade.
Miranda: The moves themselves are powered-up versions of the moves your Pokemon already know. The catch is that they only stay Dynamaxed for three turns. The turns seem to be tracked by a red cloud over the huge Pokemon’s head, and Pokemon can only be Dynamaxed once per battle.
Casey: I’m not entirely sold on it: it seems like a boring combo of Mega Evolution and Z-Moves. What I am excited for, however, is the free-roaming camera in the wild. Specifically, this feature is limited to something called the “Wild Area,” an expansive natural area in the Galar region that connects different towns.
Miranda: I think we’ve been able to pinpoint what this area will be, and if we’re right, we may be able to access it rather early on in the game.
Casey: The Pokemon that appear will be based on location and weather, similar to Pokemon Go, so the Pokemon you encounter may change each time you visit since the weather changes every day.
Miranda: Also based on what we saw, there’s potential for it to be a larger multiplayer area based on how players approached the thing called the Max Raid Battle stone. Which brings us to…
Casey: Max Raid Battles! These can be initiated in the Wild Area. In the distance, you’ll be able to see red beams, marking a Max Raid location. These raid battles put up to four trainers against a Dynamax Pokemon, but the catch is that it remains Dynamaxed for the entire battle and has special abilities.
Miranda: Only one of the four trainers can Dynamax their Pokemon, which is a nice way to add a bit more strategy to these battles. If the Pokemon is defeated, your group has a chance to catch the Dynamax Pokemon. Some Pokemon can only be caught through Max Raid Battles, so they’re probably worth checking out.
Casey: As far as surprising things go, those were on the top of list. Not surprising at all, on the other hand, is the release date. Like many Pokemon games before it, Pokemon Sword and Shield will be released on November 15 of this year.
Miranda: There were so many other things announced too! New Pokemon, characters, and even the Legendaries — they look a little like Digimon, but that’s a whole other discussion for another day.