Following a brief teaser back at E3 2017, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company finally gave the world its first look at the next entry in “the main series of Pokémon RPGs” this morning. Named Pokémon Sword and Shield, the games will hit the Nintendo Switch in late 2019, the company said.
In a short announcement video, Nintendo revealed the three new starter Pokémon for these eighth-generation games: Grookey, a “mischievous” chimp with “boundless curiosity”; Scorbunny, a fiery rabbit that’s “bursting with energy”; and Sobble, a “timid” water lizard that fires attacks while hiding in water.
The games will take place in the Galar region, a new environment with countryside, cities, plains, and mountains to explore. “The people and Pokémon live here, and they work together to develop the industries in the region,” game director Shigeru Ohmori said.
The short bits of gameplay shown in the announcement looked pretty standard for the series, with cel-shaded 3D characters running around to battle and collect Pokémon in various locations. Ohmori said Game Freak is striving to mix in some new things while keeping the core elements that make Pokémon special. And Pokémon Company president and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara promised more Pokémon-related announcements for this year were coming. “We’ve got plenty in the works for the Pokémon brand that we hope will delight.”
After years of Pokémon spin-off games for TV-based consoles, Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the first “main line” series RPGs to be natively playable on a TV screen, rather than exclusively on a portable system. Their release follows last year’s Pokémon Let’s Go games, which took a lighter, more-streamlined gameplay approach inspired in part by the Pokémon Go mobile games.
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