Switch It Up
After a long wait, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have revealed Pokemon Sword and Shield for Switch. These are the “core” Pokemon games first announced during E3 2017 and mark the eighth generation of mainline Pokemon RPGs. The reveal trailer, which was shown during a special Pokemon Day Direct presentation, showed the new Galar region, the three new starter Pokemon, and a number of other smaller details for fans to dig into.
So what now? We know that Pokemon Sword and Shield are scheduled for a late 2019 release, which means we have months left to speculate and fantasize about what we might see in Gen 8. Based on what we know so far, we can all but eliminate some possibilities–it seems that random encounters are back after a break in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee–and infer others.
First off, 2016’s Sun and Moon–and 2017’s updated versions, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon–added a few of the quality-of-life features that will most likely return in the next Pokemon game. New and improved tools for high-level training, like being able to see a Pokemon’s IVs at a glance, were a boon for competitive players, as was the reintroduction of Move Tutors in the Ultras. Alola also saw the introduction of regional variants of existing Pokemon, which is probably here to stay as well.
So what’s left to improve? We have quite a few ideas. Keep reading to see ten things we want to see from Pokemon Sword and Shield, and let us know in the comments what else you’re hoping to see!
Way Less Hand-Holding
Recent Pokemon games have been regarded as, well, a bit easy. Pokemon is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean the games should painstakingly explain the basics of catching and training Pokemon for the first two hours, either. Learning how to play Pokemon is easy, but mastering it is hard, and that’s a big part of why it’s so rewarding to build a successful team–so Sword and Shield should actually make that more of a challenge.
To Travel To Another Region
This is farfetched (ha), but bear with us. Gen 2 (Gold, Silver, and Crystal) is the best Pokemon generation of all time, in part because you got to take on all of Kanto after conquering Johto. It was like having a bonus Pokemon game after you finished your Pokemon game. And while the Galar region looks to be varied and expansive, we have to hold out hope that maybe we’ll get to see at least a bit of an old region with fresh eyes.
An Improved Online Component
Pokemon has mainly been the domain of handhelds, and although the Switch is portable, it’s also a proper home console with an online service. Things like Wonder Trade and the Global Trade System are boons for collectors and need to return in Sword and Shield, and a robust online battle system is also a must. But we’re hoping to see a new, creative use of online connectivity that takes advantage of what the Switch is capable of–think Sun and Moon’s Festival Plaza, but in real-time, or competitive mini-games you can play on the fly. We also humbly request the return of Secret Bases and the ability to invite and host friends.
End HMs For Good
The death of HMs was one of Sun and Moon’s greatest gifts to Pokemon. Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee continued the trend away from HMs, and Sword and Shield need to follow suit. You should never again keep a Linoone (a very good HM Pokemon, for the record) or anything else you don’t really want to train in your party just because it can move boulders for you.
Your Pokemon Should Follow You, Dang It
This is probably the most frequently requested Pokemon feature ever, and we got used to it again thanks to its return in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee–we can’t go back now! While the Sword and Shield reveal trailer didn’t show any Pokemon following you, we can still hope that the feature is in the game somewhere. The dream isn’t shattered yet.
Improve the Post-Game
This goes hand-in-hand with a few other things on our wishlist, but seriously–in Sun and Moon, there really wasn’t much to do after beating the game unless you play the competitive meta or want to catch lots of legendaries. Adding an interesting post-game challenge, bringing back Pokemon Contests, and adding mini-games would all go a long way toward improving the post-game experience for all kinds of players. Also, Pokemon Sword and Shield should definitely bring back the ability to call trainers you’ve battled for a rematch at any time.
Add A Pokemon Showdown-Like Feature
If you haven’t heard of it, Pokemon Showdown is an unofficial battle simulator that lets you customize a team (down to each Pokemon’s under-the-hood stats and whether or not they’re shiny) and battle against others. It’s an incredibly useful tool for competitive players, who can test out teams before committing to dozens or hundreds of hours of breeding and training in the actual games. It would also be a great way to stem the hacking problem in competitive Pokemon scenes, which arose due to the high barrier to getting a battle-ready team.
Pokemon Bank Compatibility
This is a no-brainer. Sword and Shield have to work with Pokemon Bank, since there wouldn’t be any other way to trade up the Pokemon from your previous games. We hope this extends to Let’s Go, too, since a lot of us have some A-plus shiny Pokemon in those games that are just waiting to achieve their full potential.
More Poison Types
Poison-type Pokemon often fall by the wayside. On the competitive level, only a few poison-types–Amoonguss, mostly–get any love. There are other great poison Pokemon out there, but the type has room to grow. With the industrialization present in the Galar region, it would be a great opportunity to expand the poison roster and provide an interesting juxtaposition with the more pastoral areas of the region.
A New Eeveelution
There are currently eight Eeveelutions, which is a lot, but listen–Eevee is great, and there’s room for more. What if there were a ghost-type Eeveelution that only evolved in a Shedinja-like situation? What if Eevee became the poison-type Pokemon we’re looking for? What would dragon Eevee look like? Think of the possibilities!