This is the first Pokémon Sword and Shield logo released by Gamefreak. All the credit for this image goes to Nintendo and Gamefreak. This logo was discovered on the Pokémon Direct. Here is the official link to Nintendo’s Official YouTube page.

The Impact of Pokémon

There should be no surprise that Pokémon has left an impact on the videogaming community. Whether you’re a dedicated fan or a person who’s only played the series through the application Pokémon GO, Pokémon has made an impact on the general public. For many players, this franchise is the first RPG (Role Playing Game) that they ever play. Every few years, Gamefreak releases the newest installment of Pokémon. Each region has its own individualism making themselves different from the previous installments. On February 26, 2019, Gamefreak as well as Nintendo dropped a sudden announcement of a Pokémon Direct.

The Reveal Everyone Has Been Waiting For

For those who are unaware, Nintendo creates press conferences called Nintendo Directs. Nintendo produces these conferences to announce games and reveal news about upcoming video games. These directs range in time depending on how much information is to be announced. Fans of Pokémon went insane because the franchise was getting its own direct. This only happens when companies need to focus on one specific franchise. On February 27, 2019, Gamefreak announced the newest installment of the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. The trailer shows what fans expect within a Pokémon game. The audience sees parts of the region, the main protagonist, and the region’s starter Pokémon. In this review, we’re going to examine the information provided in this Pokémon Direct as well as exploring what this game could add to the franchise.

Exploring the Galar Region

Pokémon Sword and Shield takes place in a brand-new region called the Galar Region. From the screenshots and videos that we see, this region is an inspiration of the United Kingdom. The direct introduces several parts of the Galar region including a plain and one of the cities. One of the first routes that the direct presents is a plain. The layout of this route has some inspiration from Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. These patches of grass are a way for the player to find Pokémon to capture or fight for experience. One of the exciting effects in this route is the fact that you can see the background of the town. This new ability may have something to do with the rendering power of the Nintendo Switch. With Gamefreak having more rendering power, there is much more that can be seen to make the region seem grander.

Real World Inspiration

The other part of the region that the audience sees is a large city. The name of that city is currently unknown. There are several scenes that suggest a representation of London. One of the major similarities is the reveal of the signature, large clock tower. This clock tower is more than likely a representation of the UK’s symbolic landmark, Big Ben. It’s common for larger towns to have a clock tower. However, the overview that we see about this city has an extremely large inspiration of London. The city has an industrial feel to it with machines working and steam rising from some of the buildings. Seeing this for the first time as well as seeing the clock tower would make the environment feel like a representation of London. This isn’t the first time that Gamefreak has created cities in Pokémon games that are based on real places.

Bring Inspiration into the Galar Region

In the Unova Region, there was a city called Castelia City. The Unova Region was a representation of the west more specifically North America. Castelia City was Gamefreak’s representation of New York City. When the player walks into the city, there are large skyscrapers and characters walking around. When the player is walking in the main part of the city, the player can see speech bubbles of characters on the street talking. If this city is a representation of London, there can be a ton of opportunity representation. There could be Pokémon running around like Galar’s normal Pokémon. Another idea is to have Pokémon versions of the Queen’s guards. The player can go up to them, but the guards don’t interact. Gamefreak has the perfect opportunity to dive deeper into the United Kingdom’s history. The developers have started this with the introduction of the main protagonist.

Protagonist Reflecting the Region

Both protagonists show characteristics for the region that they’re in. In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the inspiration of the Alolan Region was Hawaii. This region completes the tropical theme with Hawaii inspired clothing the protagonist wear and the natives speak when greeting any other characters. From the trailer, the protagonists are distinctive. One piece of clothing that was interesting was the hat that both protagonist wear. The male protagonist is wearing a beanie. while the female protagonist’s hat is a beret. If character customization were to make another appearance, using different clothing styles from the different parts of the United Kingdom would be a wonderful way to explore the Galar region. This would also be an exploration into the United Kingdom’s history as to the different styles that make up the country. Just as the protagonists fit within the region, so are the starter Pokémon.

Revealing the Starter Pokémon

Within every region, there’s always a new Pokémon Professor and three new starter Pokémon. The starters is a key stone in the story as the player has to face several foes within the region such as gym leaders, rivals, and the evil team organization. The first one shown in the trailer is the fire starter, Scorbunny. The audience sees Scorbunny as it runs on a machine gear, onto the grass, and runs off. As the bunny runs, we see water putting out the fire. A tadpole looking Pokémon slowly emerges out of a fountain named Sobble. Sobble reveals itself as the water starter of the Galar Region. Sobble runs away by a noise which reveals the third starter, Grookey who is the grass starter. Gamefreak only reveals a little information about what each of the starters are.

Speculation of the Evolution Stages

When Gamefreak reveals the starter Pokémon in a new region, fans start to speculate as to what the final evolutions are going to be. I would be interested to see some new combinations of elements for the starters. The idea of Sobble evolving into a Ghost/Water type would be an interesting combination since the Pokémon emerged from the water in camouflage. For the evolution of Scorbunny, I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing a Fire and Steel typing. There can be an opportunity for Steel typing to make more of an appearance. For the grass starter Grookey, I could see being Grass and Fighting. I know that this typing has been used before with the starter Pokémon Chespin in Generation Seven. Within the trailer, we see Grookey banging a stick on a rock to make the grass grow. Gamefreak has many different options for these starter Pokémon.

More Information to Come

Within this review, we’ve dove deeper into the Galar Region, the main protagonist, and the starter Pokémon of this new game. At the end of the direct, Gamefreak did announce that this game would be released later in 2019. When a Pokémon game is released, the release date tends to be in November or December depending on Gamefreak. Within the next few months, Gamefreak is sure to announce more information as the growing anticipation for Pokémon Sword and Shield continues to grow. As more information is released, more speculation will go into how this game will change the standard of Pokémon. With what Gamefreak has been able to present, there are plenty of different routes that this game could go. Especially with the power of the Nintendo Switch, this Pokémon adventure maybe one of the grandest ones created in years.

To fully review this Pokémon Direct, follow this link to Nintendo’s Official YouTube page.

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