In February, Nintendo announced the next set of Pokémon games coming to the Nintendo Switch: Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. They also revealed some juicy details in the announcement trailer, including the return of gym battles, Pokémon from older generations, and the brand new Gen VIII starter Pokémon. You can check out our full guide on what was announced so far.
We also found out that these new games are taking place in an entirely new area called that Galar, which is heavily inspired by the United Kingdom. They put out a map of the Galar region, and there are quite a few things that this map already tells us.
- The significance of the lakes
- Trains seem to play a role in getting around
- There are a lot of caverns and mines
- Hidden Dugtrio entrance in the western mountains
- Landmark art dug into the western hill
- Gyms are making a comeback
- There may be boat travel
- Could the center building be the Pokémon League?
- The northernmost city is very modern
The significance of the lakes
Since Galar is inspired by the United Kingdom, I believe that there could be something significant about the lakes that are found in the starting town in the south, as well as towards the center of the map.
In the starting town, there's a standalone building right next to the lake, which we can assume is the Professor's laboratory building. Perhaps it's placed right next to the lake for a good reason, such as keeping an eye out for a pseudo-legendary, Loch Ness monster-type of Pokémon? After all, the Loch Ness monster has some Scottish ties, and Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.
There are more lakes towards the center of the region map, which could be another possible area for a sighting of such a Pokémon.
Trains seem to play a role in getting around
In London, a lot of people get around by train. It's pretty reliable and helps you get to your destination a lot faster than by driving or other methods of transport. This seems to have translated well into Pokémon.
The most apparent sign of a train system is on the west side of the map, where you see train tracks between two mountains. On a closer inspection of the map, you'll see that the starting town even has a train station, and tracks can be seen leading to the various towns in Galar.
We aren't sure if you can actually take the train to access cities yet, but it would make sense if you unlock them as destinations through normal story progression.
There are a lot of caverns and mines
Speaking of train tracks, all of the rails seem to go through mountains several times. We're not sure if the tracks are for trains or perhaps a rail cart, but it's definitely a sign that we'll be doing a lot of cave exploration this generation.
There was also a cave shown in the trailer, where you see rail tracks on the ground along with a lot of sparkly gems in the walls. Again, not much was revealed about this mine and all of these cave entrances, but the thought of potentially rare treasures and gems is certainly enticing, isn't it?
Hidden Dugtrio entrance in the western mountains
If you take a gander at the mountain in front of that Ground or Rock type gym on the western side of the map, you'll see that there's a carving of a Dugtrio on the wall.
Our guess is that this may be some kind of hidden entrance to a passageway to get to the gym, since the gym itself is surrounded by water. And since there's such a blatant Dugtrio right there, I believe that it's safe to assume that this gym would be Ground type, or maybe Rock (mountains) to surprise us.
Landmark art dug into the western hill
Southwest of that Dugtrio carving is another distinctive piece of art that appears to be dug into the green hill.
Our guess is that this drawing depicts some sort of legendary Pokémon, and it's plausible that the drawing shows the creature doing some kind of attack on smaller foes. The spiral appears to be wind, and the jagged lines represent lighting or thunder. From a quick glance, it looks like a thunderstorm or something similar. Could this legendary Pokémon be Electric type?
Gyms are making a comeback
We already covered this earlier, but yes, Gyms are making a comeback in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
From the map, we can definitely dig out at least five gyms in Galar so far. They haven't been confirmed yet, but from the surroundings and building colors and structures, we can guess that the following gym types are in the game: Grass, Water, Fairy (or maybe Poison), Ground or Rock, and Ice or Dark.
This is a bit unusual though, because usually there are eight gyms in a Pokémon game. We're hoping that there are three more that are just a little too well-hidden.
There may be boat travel
If you look where the potential Water gym is (east side of the map), there's a lighthouse next to it, on what appears to be a dock or pier. There is a boat underneath, as well as what looks like some spaces for more boats to dock.
Take note of the three islands that are close to the coastlines. Could it be possible to travel to these islands via boat? Or could you even take a boat ride to regions that appeared in previous Pokémon games? After all, we saw plenty of old favorites in the trailer, so maybe you can travel to other areas to obtain them? Either way, we hope to see some traces of past generations in Sword and Shield.
Could the center building be the Pokémon League?
Right smack dab in the center of Galar is a large building that is reminiscent of a castle. I mean, there's even a crown in the middle of it, giving it some semblance of royalty. But then you'll see a dragon head that faces south, which makes it look rather intimidating.
Perhaps this is where the Pokémon League will take place? Such a giant building must be something important and significant, and in the Pokémon world, that's the Pokémon League.
The building also has walls around it, which seem to have walkways at the top, so perhaps you can travel across them on your journey, but to gain entry into the building, you'll need all of the gym badges.
The northernmost city is very modern
From what we've gathered from the Galar map, we can see that the large city up north is quite vast, and it's completely modernized. You can see a ton of skyscrapers, what looks like a Space Needle-like building (or The Shard), Big Ben, and a ferris wheel that resembles the London Eye.
We do not know what this city is called yet, but it's fairly different from the rest of the Galar region so far. There is also a building that looks like it could be a gym, but we're not sure, since it doesn't appear to have a theme like the others that we know of.
Either way, we hope to find a lot of cool new shops and other new challenges in this metropolis.
What do you think about Galar?
Those are the main things that we've noticed so far with the Galar region map for Pokémon Sword and Shield. What have you noticed from the map? What are you most excited for, or hope to see? Let us know in the comments below!
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
I wonder if they'll do Kalos for the second game, or Unova. Kalos because it's France, and France and England are connected by the chunnel. But Unova is basically the US, so that's related. They could also just do an "emerald" game for Ireland "The Emerald Isle".
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