Snap Judgment: Nintendo Direct - Pokemon Sword & Shield
Posted by Nick Fisher on 2019-03-06 06:31:27 UTC
February was a pretty special month for Nintendo. To get one Nintendo Direct in such a timespan is a treat - to get two is off the charts. Both of them also made some serious statements about the company’s plans in 2019, but most importantly, one of them had Pokemon. New ones too! If you didn’t think you were ready for yet another epic saga dedicated to catching ‘em all, then tough - you are now.
Time enough has passed to be able to take stock on all the announcements, which in total, covered an expansive list of over 30 games. In this recap, I’ll be going through all the big takeaways - good, bad or whatever. It’s also pleasing to say that there’s actually little ‘bad’, or ‘whatever’. In fact, it’s actually quite difficult to decide what to be excited for the most!
For all the big reveals that came about from the first Direct of the month, the second one found a way to trump them all - and it only needed seven minutes to do so. It came in the form of an announcement for the next instalment of the Pokemon series: Sword & Shield.
Sword & Shield marks the first original entry of the franchise on the Switch, and while it looks like it’ll retain the gameplay of old - with Pokemon to train and Gyms to conquer - there was still room for a few surprises. First of all, Sword & Shield will take place in a completely new region of the game’s universe - Galar, a land consisting of "idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forests, and craggy, snow-covered mountains." Sounds fairly generic on the surface, but a look at the trailer indicates that the game’s world might take its inspiration from a very specific location.
News sites and social media paid considerable attention to just how much the scenery reflected that seen across the U.K - perhaps Scotland and the more pleasant parts of England, to be exact. After all, there’s not many other parts of the world that can boast quaint cottages decked out with that much ivy. There’s also industrial-looking towns, Big Ben-esque clock towers and even a subtle nod towards the Cerne Abbas Giant. Whoever did the intelligence-gathering for the setting, they’ve done their homework. Just needs a few kids in hoodies hanging around in parks to challenge now and then, and it’ll be spot on!
But if the promise of an all-new region wasn’t enough to satisfy fans, the reveal of three all-new starter Pokemon should surely do the trick. The biggest talking points surrounding the trailer were undoubtedly on these three - particularly, on which one was the best. Would it be Scorbunny, a fire-type rabbit described as “always running about, bursting with energy”? Or would it be the timid Sobble, a water-type lizard who specializes in “shooting out attacks as it hides itself in the water”? Personally, my money was on Grookey - a grass-type chimp defined as both “mischievous” and “full of boundless curiosity”. I mean, what’s not to like about a cheeky green monkey?
The debate was particularly fierce on Twitter, and a poll run by the official Pokemon account left little room for a definitive winner:
Sobble won by 1% of the vote from Scorbunny, while Grookey finished third with a nonetheless respectable 25%. Don’t mind them, Grookey. I still choose you.
In any case, Sword & Shield looks set to land on the Switch in late 2019. There’s little yet said on what will differentiate between Sword or Shield versions, but there’s guaranteed to be further tantalizing reveals as the year goes on. In any case, Pokemon hype won’t be dying down for a while yet.
Media utilized in article is property of: Nintendo / Pokemon Company