It's been a long time coming and us Pokémon fans have been rewarded for our patience (or lack thereof) with some insights into Generation 8! Here's everything you want to know about Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Guard and Parry

Pokémon Sword and Shield

The latest Pokémon adventure

These games takes place in the Galar region, which is inspired by the UK. It features three new starters and brings back gym battles. You'll see some of your favorite Pokémon as well as several new ones. Take on each of the new gyms and prove yourself as the best trainer.

Latest news

Update: October 7, 2019: Info on HMs, Exp. Share, autosave, and the number of gyms.

HMs and Exp. Share won't be Gen 8 as we've previously known them. Autosave is new to Sword and Shield. There will be eight gyms in either version.

Update: September 24, 2019: More insights into Gigantamaxing

Gigantamaxing is different from Dynamaxing in that the Pokémon can use a special G-Max move and changes its appearance.

Update: September 16, 2019: This will be the first Pokémon game that doesn't have an Elite Four.

In each of the Gen 1 through Gen 7 games you faced off against the Elite Four after beating all of the gym leaders in your region. Sword and Shield breaks this tradition by doing away with the Elite Four and replacing it with something called the Champion Cup.

Update: September 4, 2019: Pokémon Camp, Curry Dex, and character customization options revealed

During the Nintendo Direct, we learned that you can camp at any time during the game to bond with your Pokémon and raise their battle skills. You can even camp with up to three other players and interact with their Pokémon. We also got to see some additional character customization options, including hairstyles, clothes, and accessories.

Update: August 7, 2019: New Galarian forms, additional rivals, and Poké Jobs revealed

A new video revealed that some Pokemon will have Galarian forms in Sword and Shield, similar to Alolan forms from Sun and Moon. The main antagonists will be Team Yell, a group of fans, which you'll encounter throughout the game. Finally, players will be able to view job boards and send their Pokémon off to complete tasks. In exchange, Pokémon will earn experience points.

Update: June 11, 2019: New information from E3 - Only certain Pokémon can be transferred into Sword and Shield | Fighting wild Pokémon is back!

During Nintendo Treehouse live stream, Junichi Masuda stated via interpreter that you'll only be able to transfer a Pokémon into Sword and Shield if it is in the Galar region Pokédex. We were also told that while exploring the Galar region, players will be able to fight wild Pokémon. This element of the game was missing from the last Pokémon Switch games, so we're happy to see it has returned.

Update: June 5, 2019: Nintendo Direct presentation reveals multiplayer co-op raids, new Pokémon, Legendaries, Dynamax battles, and more

During the 15-minute Nintendo Direct presentation on Wednesday, we got a lot of new info on the upcoming Sword and Shield. We saw how Pokémon battles will work in the Galar region and also got a peek at some new monsters. Additionally, we were introduced to Dynamax battles and a new co-op raid mode, which makes the new titles similar in some respects to Pokémon Go. Here's everything we know so far:

What are Pokémon Sword and Shield?

After teasing a proper, mainline Pokémon RPG last year, Game Freak has finally revealed Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Pokémon Let's Go took cues from the mobile game Pokémon GO and streamlined the experience to be more accessible for everyone. Sword and Shield, on the other hand, appears to be the more like traditional Pokémon games that you've grown to love.

New Pokémon, new gym battles, new cities, and new challenges await. If it's anything like previous titles, you can probably expect a new team of villains as well.

What region do they take place in?

Generation 8 takes place in the entirely new Galar Region, which appears to be based on England. As the Pokémon Company states, this region is "filled with idyllic countryside and contemporary cities—vast plains and snow-covered mountains."

We don't know the names of any major cities or towns yet, but the region map that Game Freak revealed in the trailer gives us a lot to look forward to. According to Game Director Shigeru Ohmori, Pokémon and Galar's citizens work together closely to develop the region's industries.

What starters can I choose from?

Game Freak revealed all three starter Pokémon that players can choose from in Sword and Shield. As seen above, they are Grookey, the chimp Pokémon; Scorbunny, the rabbit Pokémon; and Sobble, the water lizard Pokémon.

They're not ugly! We'll have to wait and see their evolutions, but for now, we get this cute trio to enjoy. Maybe we won't have a Popplio situation this time, the poor ugly duckling.

Can I catch Pokémon from other regions?

Pokémon Sword and Shield's complete Pokédex hasn't been revealed just yet, but going from the trailer players will be able to catch Pokémon from other regions. A random encounter with a Pikachu was shown at one point along with Generation 2 and 3 Pokémon like Wailmer, Flygon, Hoothoot, Tyranitar, and a whole lot more.

Which Pokémon can I transfer into Sword and Shield?

During the 2019 Pokémon Press Conference, we learned that Sword and Shield will work with Pokémon Home, a cloud service that allows you to store and trade Pokémon. We got a little more information about this feature at E3, and it isn't good. According to Junichi Masuda of Game Freak, only Pokémon that are specifically in the Galar region Pokédex can get transferred into the new Switch games. This means that some of your favorite creatures that you've captured in previous games won't be usable in Gen 8.

For more information on which Pokémon you can use in Sword and Shield, check out our article on Pokemon Home.

How many gyms are there?

There will be eight gyms in Sword and eight gyms in Shield, however, some of the gyms won't be the same across the board. For example, Allister's Ghost-type gym will only be in Shield, while Bea's Fighting-type gym will only be in Sword. We currently don't know all of the gym types that appear in Sword versus Shield, but we'll update when we learn more.

How will Pokémon encounters work?

As in previous Pokémon games, players will come across monsters in tall grass and caves when wandering about in the world. The Pokémon you encounter will be random, but you'll be able to tell that a creature is nearby when you see an exclamation point icon on the screen. The ability to fight wild Pokémon is back! This battle element of the games was missing from Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, so we're happy to see that it's still a feature in the newest core games.

The Wild Area: In a sprawling section of the Galar region, the Pokemon you encounter will be determined by in-game weather and your location on the map. Pokemon in this section wander freely, and you can attract them by whistling, which will be especially helpful for attracting high-flying creatures.

Will there be autosave?

Yes! Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the first generation of games within the series to automatically save your game as you go. This will make it so that players down feel as much of a need to scramble for the save menu once they've reached a new area or beaten a challenging gym. However, you can also turn off the autosave feature if you want to rely on manual saves.

Will there be HMs?

No, as with Pokémon Sun and Moon there won't be any Hidden Machines (HMs) in Pokémon Sword and Shield. This is a game changer considering that HMs like Surf, Fly, Cut, and Strength have been a key part of Pokemon games from Gen 1 through Gen 6. According to Kazumasa Iwao, HMs didn't allow for the level of freedom they wanted players to experience in the game.

Having the more HM-based elements, we didn't feel it really matched the game, so this time around they're not in it.

We have already seen that Corviknight function as flying taxi's within the game, which is similar to the HM Fly and players will be able to ride a special bike that can ride on water, which basically acts like Surf. With that in mind, it seems like the idea behind HMs will still be usable throughout Sword and Shield, we'll just see them implemented in a different way.

Will there be Exp. Share?

This will be the first generation of games that won't include an item called Exp. Share. However, the Pokémon in your party will automatically receive an equal amount of experience whether or not they participate in battle. It's currently unknown if this feature can be turned off or not. We'll update when we learn more.

Can I customize my character?

There are eight different characters to choose from — four boys and four girls. At various points throughout the game, you'll be able to get different outfits and accessories to customize the look of your character. However, you'll start with one of the eight stock looks. In addition to tops and pants, you can choose your hairstyle, eye color, and can even wear makeup.

What is Dynamax in Sword and Shield?

The Nintendo Direct presentation on June 5 revealed a new way to battle that involves making your Pokémon huge and more powerful. Players will only be able to use this ability once per battle, and the Pokemon will only remain in its Dynamax form for three consecutive turns before returning to normal. Dynamaxing can be done during gym battles, raids, and trainer battles. According to the presentation, you'll need to master Dynamaxing if you want to become a full-fledged trainer.

What is Gigantamaxing in Sword and Shield?

It's similar to Dynamaxing where the Pokémon grows incredibly large. However, Gigantamaxing also changes a Pokémon's appearance and gives the Pokémon a special G-Max move as well. One of the most significant Gigantamax appearance changes we've seen so far is with Alcremie, which has a humongous tiered cake spawn beneath it, with Alcremie serving as the top layer of cream.

Another important thing to note is that while all Pokémon can Dynamax, only special Pokémon can Gigantamax. For instance, Drednaw can Dynamax, but only special Drednaw can Gigantamax. I know, it's a little confusing. We're not sure how you'll be able to tell if a Pokémon can Gigantamax at present, but we'll add this information when we learn more.

What's this I hear about a new multiplayer raid mode?

With Gen 8 comes Max Raid Battles, which let you and up to three others battle a giant, wild Dynamax Pokémon together. You'll be able to play with nearby friends using local wireless play. However, they each need to have their own copy of the game and their own console. You can also participate in raids with other online players as long as you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

You'll need to strategize with your fellow raiders since only one of you will be able to use the Dynamax form on your Pokémon. Max Raid Battles take place in the Wild Area, a large section of the map that stretches between towns.

What are Galarian forms?

Similar to the Alolan forms found in Pokémon Sun and Moon, players will encounter Pokémon that look different in the Galar region. We've gotten a brief glimpse at a dapper Galarian Weezing who gives off a Victorian vibe with his top hat-like chimney stacks. We've also seen a Galarian Zigzagoon and Galarian Linoone variant that give off a strong Kiss vibe. What's more, in the Galar region you might find unique evolutions that aren't available elsewhere. For example, the Obstagoon that evolves from Galarian Linoone or the Sword exclusive evolution of Sirfetch'd that evolves from Farfetch'd.

Will there be new fossil Pokémon?

Fossil evolution from Gen 1.

Recently, there have been a lot of rumors going around about what the upcoming Fossil Pokémon will look like in Sword and Shield. However, there's still not been any official news from the Pokémon Company or Game Freak on this subject. We'll keep searching and will let you know when there's more information.

If you're new to the Pokémon games then you're probably wondering what a fossil Pokémon is. Allow me to explain. Every Pokémon game from Gen 1 through Gen 7 has had it where you eventually find a special fossil on your travels. You typically have to choose between two fossils in each game. Once you've obtained a fossil you give it to a research laboratory and the scientists turn it into a Pokémon that can be added to your party. It's kind of like a Jurassic Park thing where they bring a prehistoric animal back to life, only this one won't eat you. We expect Gen 8 will continue the tradition and feature new fossils, however, there has been no official news yet on fossil Pokémon in Sword and Shield.

Who are the team antagonists?

If you're at all familiar with previous Pokémon games, you know that there's always an opposing group of people that the main character encounters throughout their journey. So far, we know that a goth-looking Marnie has some crazy fans known as Team Yell who disrupt battles and cause general trouble for the inhabitants of the Galar region.

What is Pokémon Camp?

Players will have the ability to take their Pokemon out into the wild for some good old fashion bonding. As you get to know your Pokemon better, they will improve in battle. While in the Wild Area you'll also be able to visit other players and their Pokemon. Up to four characters can interact in a Pokemon Camp at a time.

While camping, you can cook up curry creations using various ingredients. Each time you discover a new recipe, it gets added to your Curry Dex. There are 100 recipes to discover. We're guessing that these tasty creations can be used to influence a Pokemon's battle stats, but we don't know for sure.

What are Poké Jobs?

By accessing the Rotomi, in Pokémon Centers players will be able to send their Pokémon off to complete jobs for businesses and universities. In return, your Pokémon can earn experience and rare items. Some pocket monsters are better suited for specific jobs so you'll want to think about which ones you send. This seems like it will be a great way to help level up Pokémon that aren't currently in your party.

What differences will there be between the two versions?

We don't know all the differences between the two versions just yet, but we do know that a handful of Pokémon can only be caught in either Sword or Shield. We also know that those who purchase Sword will be able to encounter the legendary Pokémon Zacian, while those who buy Shield will meet Zamazenta.

What's this I hear about there being no Elite Four?

Yes, it's true. Sword and Shield is the first core Pokémon game that won't have you battling the Elite Four after beating all of the gym leaders in the region. Instead, players will enter the Champion Cup where they'll have the chance to battle the current Champion, Leon and his Charizard. Leon is the older brother of your in-game rival, Hop. So, you'll probably hear a lot about the Champion before you meet him.

Here's what the Pokémon website says about the Champion Cup:

Once a year in the Galar region, a series of Pokémon battles are held with the League Championship on the line.

This is the Champion Cup! The Champion Cup is the tournament to decide who will be able to challenge the reigning Champion for their seat. Exemplary Trainers throughout the region, such as those who complete the Gym Challenge, are allowed to participate in the Champion Cup tournament.

The Champion Cup battles are broadcast on TV, and all the people of the Galar region will be watching!

We're unsure if there will be different rules in the Champion's Cup compared to when facing off with the Elite Four, but we'll update this section when we learn more.

When can I play them?

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will be releasing for the Nintendo Switch worldwide on November 15, 2019. They're currently available for pre-order at Amazon.

Go for attack

Pokémon Sword

The latest Pokémon adventure

Pokémon Sword is one of the two latest Pokémon adventures. It takes place in the Galar region, which is inspired by the UK, and features three new starters and brings back gym battles. Older Pokémon seem to make an appearance as well, so you'll see some of your favorites.

Go for a strong defense

Pokémon Shield

The latest Pokémon adventure

Pokémon Shield is one of the two latest Pokémon adventures. It takes place in the Galar region, which is inspired by the UK, and features three new starters and brings back gym battles. Older Pokémon seem to make an appearance as well, so you'll see some of your favorites.

Guard and Parry

Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack

Play both Gen 8 games

Get both of the newest Pokémon RPGs in one bundle. You'll be able to capture all Gen 8 monsters, even if they are only exclusive to one game or the other. Plus, you'll get the chance to encounter both legendary creatures from either game.

October 7, 2019: Added info on autosaving, the lack of HMs, Exp. Share, and the number of gyms in Sword and Shield.

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