What We Want From Pokemon Sword and Shield at E3
I’ve waited for Pokemon on the Switch – or any home console, for that matter – for a long, long time. Sure, we got Pokemon Let’s Go last year (which we thought was great), and there were others like Snap or Colosseum, but those just didn’t carry the same weight of a full-fledged core Pokemon game – one that’s meant to carry on the torch from Pokemon Red and Blue, and the most recent Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
One of my very first op-eds as a full-time editor at IGN was 5 Things We Want in a Pokemon Switch Game, back in April 2017. During that year’s E3 we learned there was, indeed, a core Pokemon RPG in development for the Switch, but got no other details, not even a logo. The next year, in May 2018, we were reassured it was still coming (in 2019) and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee, Let’s Go Pikachu, and Pokemon Quest were announced in one fell swoop, a smart move for The Pokemon Company.
Pokemon Let’s Go introduced something I’ve always desperately wanted for the core Pokemon series: Pokemon living in the overworld, instead of just appearing out of nowhere for a random battle. It’s the one update in Let’s Go that I would welcome with open arms going forward for all Pokemon RPGs, not just the Let’s Go line. Unfortunately for me, from what we saw in the first Pokemon Sword and Shield trailer during the Pokemon Direct on February 27, it looks like random encounters are back for Sword and Shield.
On the up side, I don’t hate any of the starter Pokemon’s designs, and Sword and Shield’s Victorian aesthetic immediately grabbed me, as medieval-fantasy-type stuff like D&D, Game of Thrones and [dire]wolves are 100% my thing. (I’m a Sword and Shield main in Monster Hunter World, too, but that’s neither here nor there).
I’d really like to see returning features, like the Ride Pokemon in Sun and Moon (but made more robust, like with more Pokemon to choose from) and other new quality of life enhancements that could make up for the lack of visible Pokemon in the overworld. The new region of Galar looks intriguing, but I always like to save region discoveries while I’m actually exploring the game, so if we don’t see much more of the terrain at E3, I’m fine with that. On the other hand, I do want to see the Starter Pokemon’s evolutions – how else can I choose one once and for all?
Most of all, I just want to see more new Pokemon in general. From the box-featured Legendaries to Pidgey and Rattatta’s new substitutes, learning all about these new fictional sentient pets is what I’m looking forward to the most, and what I always look forward to above all else when a new generation of Pokemon is on the horizon.
But really, “I love Pokemon,” is the most candid and honest reason why I’m looking forward to Pokemon Sword and Shield. As I’m typing this, I’m drinking out of a special Meowstic mug, listening to a Pokemon symphony playlist I often default to when translating my thoughts into words. My cat, Litten, is curled up beside me. Earlier, I spent twenty minutes on the floor of IGN’s office with my colleague Miranda gushing over a shipment of Detective Pikachu plushies. I love Pokemon.
And though I’ve found it increasingly easier to recognize and articulate the series’ flaws as I’ve gotten older, my love for the franchise is pretty unwavering. Whatever we see of Pokemon Sword and Shield at E3 this year, I’ll still excitedly begin another brand new Pokemon journey when it’s released this winter.