Nintendo confirmed new details about Pokémon Sword and Shield during the E3 2019 Direct. They also showed off gameplay and explained some of the games’ new features during Nintendo Treehouse Live.
Fans at E3 will get to try out a demo of Sword and Shield. In this demo, they will face a newly-revealed Water-type gym leader, Nessa. Nessa makes use of a Dynamax Drednaw during her Gym Battle against the player.
Nintendo also explained the PokéBall Plus’ functionality with the new Pokémon games. It cannot be used as a controller as it could in Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! However, players can still take Pokémon from Sword and Shield out into the real world by putting them in the PokéBall Plus.
E3 2019 Pokémon Treehouse Live details
Players can visit the Wild Area in Sword and Shield multiple times, as it connects many towns. As a result, players may find themselves facing high-leveled Pokémon early in the game by entering the Wild Area. The Pokémon that appear in the Wild Area are determined to an extent by the weather. If it is raining, Water-type Pokémon will become more common. Similarly, Ice-types will show up more frequently if it is snowing.
Whistling is a new feature that can help trainers catch Pokémon. By whistling, a player may lure a certain Pokémon closer, while scaring others away. It can even be used to summon Flying-type Pokémon out of the sky, making it possible to catch them. Whistling is necessary for encountering and obtaining certain types of Pokémon.
The bike returns in this game. It can automatically switch between land and water. In addition, players can make the bike go faster by pressing the B button. Trainers can also give their entire team experience by defeating enemy Pokémon in this game. It is not yet confirmed if this is due to the Exp. Share item, or if it is a feature that cannot be toggled as in Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!
Players can interact with others via a new communication feature known as Y-Com. Icons will appear on the left side of the player’s screen, letting them know if other trainers nearby are looking to battle, trade, or participate in a Max Raid Battle. Players can connect in the Wild Area via local wireless play or the internet.
Max Raid Battles
Players can team up to take on Dynamax Pokémon in Max Raid Battles. These battles can be found in Pokémon Dens with red lights shooting into the sky. Before entering the battle, players will see a silhouette of the enemy Pokémon, its type, and a star rating. Trainers can choose which Pokémon to send into the battle, although they cannot switch Pokémon mid-battle.
Teamwork is key to winning a Max Raid Battle. Players have a timer limiting how much time they have to select their moves. The enemy Dynamax Pokémon can occasionally use multiple moves in one turn. It can also put up a barrier that the trainers must destroy before they can start damaging the Pokémon again.
Only on player can Dynamax their Pokémon in a single Max Raid Battle. Once the enemy Pokémon’s health is completely depleted, each player will have the chance to catch it. Even if the trainer does not catch it, there are useful rewards to be earned by participating in a Max Raid Battle.
Pokémon Home is a new cloud-based app that will allow players to connect Pokémon Sword and Shield to previous (and future) games. This is possible due to the application’s compatibility with Pokémon Bank on the Nintendo 3DS. However, in a surprise announcement, this time around Pokémon can only be transferred into Sword and Shield from Pokémon Home if they are native to the Galar Region’s Pokédex.
While the Galar Region is supposedly filled with many Pokémon, this does limit the number of Pokémon players will be able to bring into the game. Even so, Pokémon Home will act as a helpful tool for memorializing Pokémon caught in previous games.
Dylan Tate is a student in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes competitive guides for Dignitas and esports news articles for Daily Esports.