In the June 5 Pokemon Sword and Shield Direct, we got our first look at the characters and overall story of the upcoming Nintendo Switch games. This included the Galar region’s Pokemon professor, your rival, and the Champion, all mainstays of the Pokemon series. And while we didn’t get a look at a Team Rocket equivalent or any overall mysteries to the story, we did get a better idea of what the Galar region is all about: Pokemon battles, of course.
In the new Galar region, Pokemon battles are an especially big deal. The stadiums shown in the reveal trailer are, in fact, Gyms, and tons of people gather to watch challengers take on Gym Leaders. According to The Pokemon Company, “Pokemon battles are regarded as the most popular form of entertainment” in Galar. Pokemon are also important in the Galarian economy and actively participate in the workforce when they’re not battling.
Of course, the main goal of Sword and Shield is to take on the Pokemon League and become the Champion. The current Galar Champion is an exuberant anime-looking guy named Leon who’s shown with a Charizard. His younger brother, Hop, is your rival and, in classic fashion, wants to train to be the best. You’ll be helped along the way by Professor Magnolia–who studies the new Dynamax phenomenon–and her granddaughter and assistant Sonia, who is also Leon’s childhood friend. All roads seem to lead back to Leon.
Finally, we were briefly introduced to the Grass-type Gym Leader, Milo. Gym Leaders have powerful Dynamax Pokemon, a big new battle mechanic introduced in Sword and Shield. It also appears that Milo uses at least one of the new Galar Pokemon, Eldegoss.
In other Pokemon Direct news, we were introduced to Sword and Shield’s legendary Pokemon, Zamazenta and Zacian. The Direct also revealed the games’ release date: November 15. They’ll be sold both individually and as a double pack, the latter of which includes a special steelbook.