Everything we know about ‘Pokémon Sword and Shield,’ the newly released Pokémon games for Nintendo Switch

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“Pokémon Sword” and Shield” add dozens of new Pokémon to the franchise.
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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

  • “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” were released on the Nintendo Switch on November 15.
  • “Pokémon Sword” and Shield” introduce dozens of Pokémon and are set in a never-before-seen region of the Pokémon world, Galar.
  • Like prior Pokémon role-playing games, “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” are two versions of the same game. Players will encounter different Pokémon depending on which version they pick, and will have to trade for Pokémon from the opposite version.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” were released on the Nintendo Switch on November 15, introducing fans to the eighth generation of Pokémon.

Announced on the 23rd anniversary of the franchise, “Pokémon Shield” and “Pokémon Sword” will debut dozens of new Pokémon living in a never-before-seen part of the Pokémon world.

Like the original Pokémon titles, “Sword” and “Shield” are role-playing games. Players will adventure through the brand-new Galar region, capturing Pokémon and battling other trainers on their way to becoming the Pokémon champion.

Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” are two versions of the same game, a long-standing tradition in the Pokémon series. Players will encounter different Pokémon depending on which version they pick, and will have to trade for Pokémon from the opposite version. Still, both games share the same story and gameplay experience.

Though “Pokémon Sword and Shield” will have lots of new Pokémon, not all of the franchise’s 800-plus creatures will appear in the game. Past Pokémon games made room for the whole roster, but the developers of “Sword and Shield” chose to focus on 400 Pokémon and spend the rest of their resources improving the game.

Here’s what you can expect from “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” so far:


“Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” let you choose between a boy or girl trainer, a series staple since “Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.”

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The Pokémon Company

You’ll choose between one of three starter Pokémon: Grookey, Scorbunny or Sobble.

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Grookey is a grass Pokémon, Scorbunny is a fire Pokémon, and Sobble is a water Pokémon.
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The Pokémon Company

You’ll travel through the Galar region, a never-before-seen part of the Pokémon world.

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The Pokémon Company

This is only a portion of the entire map of the Galar region. You can see the full map here.


Professor Magnolia will help introduce you to the Galar region and help you choose your starter Pokémon.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Your Pokémon will be fully rendered in 3D, and there will be dozens of brand-new Pokémon exclusive to the Galar region.

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Drednaw, a Water/Rock-type Pokémon, resembles a snapping turtle and can bite through rock and iron.
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Drednaw, the Bite Pokémon, resembles a snapping turtle.

Like all Pokémon games, “Sword and Shield” will have legendary Pokémon too. Zacian is the cover star of “Pokémon Sword.”

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Zamazenta is on the cover of “Pokémon Shield.” It’s still unclear how these two legendary Pokémon will factor into the game’s story.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

“Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” will have dynamic environments that are impacted by the weather and time of day. When out in the wild, you’ll be able to control the camera to see more of your surroundings.

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The Pokémon Company

Previews for “Sword” and “Shield” have shown a number of different environments including a lakeside town, a snowy mountain trail, a desert, and a steam-powered city.

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The Pokémon Company

Shifting camera angles will change your view of the world as you travel. The original Pokémon games used a fixed, top-down view that limited your perspective.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Like previous games, battling other Pokémon trainers will play an important role in “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield.”

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The Pokémon Company

Hop is your rival trainer in “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield,” so you can expect to battle him multiple times during the story.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Sonia is Magnolia’s niece and assistant, and she’ll be offering players help during their journey as well.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Pokémon gyms are a staple destination in Pokémon games, where players face off against gym leaders to become the Pokémon champion.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Gym Leaders specialize in a specific type of Pokémon. If you can beat them, you’ll earn a special badge proving you’re a top trainer. Gym leaders can vary depending on whether you’re playing “Sword” or “Shield.”

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Pokémon battles are a popular spectator sport in the Galar region, so every gym is a massive stadium and battles are broadcast on TV.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Leon is the Galar region’s current Pokémon Champion, meaning he’s the strongest trainer around.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Leon has no shortage of challengers. Another rival trainer named Marnie and her partner Morpeko have a massive fanbase.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Team Yell is a collection of Marnie’s biggest fans, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make her Pokémon champion, including sabotaging other trainers.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Dynamax is a new feature in “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” that lets you dramatically increase a Pokémon’s size and strength.

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When Dynamax is active, Pokémon tower over their trainers.
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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Dynamax gives you access to upgraded moves, but you can only use it once per battle, and it only lasts for three turns.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

In a new mode called “Max Raid battle,” up to four players can team up to battle a Dynamax Pokémon. Some Pokémon can only be captured after being defeated in Max Raid Battle.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Some Pokémon caught in raid battles can use Gigantamax, a type of Dynamax that also changes a Pokémon’s appearance and moveset. Gigantamax Pokémon can use a unique ability called a “G-Max move” that is specific to its species.

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Gigantamax Charizard’s wings are engulfed in flames.
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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

Nintendo also released a special “Pokémon Sword and Shield” version of its new Nintendo Switch Lite consoles to celebrate the game’s launch.

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Nintendo

“Pokémon Shield” and “Pokémon Sword” were released worldwide on November 15, 2019. Nintendo is also offering a double-pack with both games for $100, they’re normally $60 each.

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“Pokémon Sword and Shield”/Nintendo

You can check out the latest trailer below: