♪It’s the most wonderful time of the year~♪
There are few things which I will openly admit I have a massive bias toward.
Pokémon is something I unabashedly have a ginormous bias toward.
Pokémon Crystal was my first video game outside of some silly educational titles featuring Sesame Street or Elmo. I’ll always fall back on the story that it helped me learn how to read when I played with my Mom all those years ago because that memory is precious to me.
So whenever a brand new entry in the Pokémon series is announced, I truly feel young at heart.
It happened with Sun and Moon.
It happened with Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
And by god it’s happening right now with the announcement of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield for the Nintendo Switch.
I know some of you must be wondering I got up at 6:00 a.m. just to watch a video game get announced. Especially when real life political things are happening.
Let’s just say I had to get up extra early for some meetings and intentionally overdid it to watch the Pokémon Direct live.
Though the announcement was seven minutes long, it offered a lot of hype.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are new mainline games set in the Galar region. Kanto through Sinnoh were analogous to different parts of Japan, Unova was analogous to New York, Kalos was analogous to France and Alola was analogous to Hawaii.
Galar will take us into a world modeled after post-Industrial England:
Everything about the theme feels right. Sword & Shield as names evoke the Knights of the Round Table knowing this region is London.
Towns look stuffed with industrial imagery of steaming cogs and stone chimneys set under foggy weather.
The new gyms, or at least the grass-type gym, looks like a Soccer/Football stadium.
Oh, and let’s not forget it all looks fucking gorgeous.
I was a huge fan of the Let’s Go graphics because they were faithful to the original Red/Green/Blue/Yellow while updated for the Switch’s capabilities.
But just off of initial screenshots alone, Sword and Shield look like Pokémon games set in Breath of the Wild Hyrule.
That game’s minimalist style had an almost watercolor quality that screams out with the creative possibilities of a Pokémon region.
Just look at the battle screenshot. Its models may look similar to previous generation’s Pokémon, perhaps to save time, but having that countryside villa in the background is stunning.
The trainer models also look better than ever, featuring more realistic humans akin to the mobile app GO, but with far more personality than even Sun and Moon achieved.
Hopefully this time the protagonists will make more than one facial expression, too.
But of course, we can’t talk about new Pokémon without delving into the starters:
Good old Serebii.
Based on first impressions alone, all three of these starters are way too cute for their own good.
Unlike the Alolan starters where I immediately had a favorite (#TeamRowlet), I don’t know that I have one among these three.
The last time we saw a simian starter in Chimchar I wound up being a huge fan of Infernape. So the Grass-type Grookey has a shot.
Bunnies are also a favorite of mine in Pokémon, with Mega Lopunny being the first IV/EV trained ‘mon I ever bred in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. So the Fire-type Scorbunny has a shot.
But the Water-type Sobble is a wild card. It looks like Mudkip and uses a camouflaging gecko design reminiscent of Kecleon.
Any reference to Hoenn is appreciated, and that’s two in one!
I’ll honestly have to see their evolutions to decide who I want to stick by.
While these are the only Galar Pokémon we’ve seen thus far, I’m sure Game Freak will introduce us to the rest before the end of the year. Even if I do wish they would keep some more secrets this time.
In the meantime, we know the Galar region will represent a wide-range of Pokémon from other regions.
In this trailer alone we can see a Zweilous, Flygon, Wishiwashi, Hoothoot, Munchlax, Tyranitar and so much more.
It feels like watching the latest Detective Pikachu trailer all over again. 2019 is shaping up to be a fatastic year for Pokémon.
That’s just about all we know so far.
Obviously I’m very excited to learn more, and there’s no doubt the next few months will be full of Sword and Shield information posts like I had for Sun and Moon!
These long periods of hype building up to the catharsis of a wonderful game have to be one of my favorite things about the Pokémon franchise nowadays. I live for the endorphines of new reveal trailers.
But what do you think about our first look at Sword and Shield, the Galar region and those new starters?
Let me know! I’m all kinds of ready for more and more Pokémon.