Pokémon Sword & Shield

Pokémon progresses into its eighth generation with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield on Nintendo Switch. Ishihara previously stated that Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee were intended to be played as home console games, with Sword & Shield as handheld games like previous main series installments.


Release date 15th November 2019 (Worldwide)
Platform Switch
Director Shigeru Ohmori
New Pokémon 89
Galarian Forms 20
Gigantamax Forms 32
Pokemon Sword box art, featuring Zacian holding a sword Pokemon Shield box art, featuring Zamazenta sporting a shield
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield box art


Pokémon Sword & Shield take place in the Galar region, which appears to be inspired by the United Kingdom.

The gameplay more closely resembles previous handheld games rather than 2018's Let's Go Pikachu & Let's Go Eevee. Wild Pokémon can be battled like in pre-LGPE games, and they will pop up from the grass as random encounters. However there are some similarities - wild Pokémon appear in the overworld too!

The Pokémon Sword & Shield starters: Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble

Gyms make a return - this time they are set in large stadiums which are designed to facilitate the new feature, Dynamax (see below). The first part of a gym features a puzzle or challenge that must be completed before the player can challenge the gym leader. Water and Grass type gyms are confirmed.

There is a new communication feature called Y-Comm, similar to the PSS from Pokémon X&Y. Icons are displayed on the left of the screen showing if friends and nearby players want to trade or battle.

The Poké Ball Plus peripheral that was created for use with Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee also works with Sword & Shield. Pokémon can be put in the ball and taken for a stroll. However, it cannot be used to control the game itself.

The new Pokémon Home service can be used to transfer Pokémon into Sword/Shield - however one important distinction is that only Pokémon featured in the Galar Pokédex can be brought in.

Wild Area

Between the towns and cities of Galar is a large expanse known as the Wild Area. It is split into several named sections but is still open world to a large extent. Powerful Pokémon dwell in certain areas and some are not be accessible until later in the game.

The weather changes across different areas, and different Pokémon will appear based on the weather and time of day. The camera is also fully controllable in the Wild Area, allowing the player to look around and seek out Pokémon.


A new phenomenon known as Dynamax is present in the Galar region. Pokémon using Dynamax increase massively in size and boost their power. It can only be used once per battle, but the Pokémon will revert to normal after 3 turns.

Throughout the Wild Area there are Pokémon Dens which are signified by a red light projecting into the sky. At these dens, Max Raid Battles take place, which allows up to four players to take on a Dynamaxed Pokémon.

Image gallery

Pokémon Sword logo Pokémon Shield logo
Logos for Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield

The Galar region map (click to enlarge).