The wait is over, as the new setting and starter Pokémon for the first all-new Pokémon game for a top-of-the-line Nintendo system are revealed!

As soon as Nintendo released the Switch in 2017, it was inevitable that the Pokémon franchise would eventually make its way to the system. Pokémon has long been the flagship first-party franchise for Nintendo’s handheld systems, and with the Switch’s hybrid portable design merging the company’s at-home and on-the-go software development, it wasn’t a question of if we’d see Pokémon on the Switch, but when.

The answer to that is right now, at least in terms of previews, as Nintendo has officially announced two new Pokémon games, Pokémon Sword and Shield, for the Switch.

Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara broke the news as part of this year’s Pokémon Day (February 27) celebration. To be clear, Sword and Sun aren’t upgraded rereleases or remakes of previous entries in the series, but brand-new games with a new setting, called the Galar region, and, of course, a trio of new starter Pokémon!

On the left is Grookey, the mischievous simian Grass-type. Standing tall in the center if Fire-type Scorbunny, whose unusual snout brings to mind the band-aids placed across the noses of rambunctious kids in Japanese illustrations. Finally, on the far right is Sobble, a shy Water-type with the ability to camouflage itself like a chameleon or scurry about with quick steps like a frilled-necked lizard.

While the Switch sometimes gets flack for not being as high-spec as its rivals, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the preview (which the video states shows visuals from a non-final version of the game) still looks impressive. Not counting last year’s Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! games (which, as entry-level remakes, were fairly limited in the scale of their ambitions), this is the first time for an entirely new Pokémon game to be running on top-of-the-line Nintendo hardware, and there’s a sense of scale and detail to the environments far beyond any previous installments in the series, with weather and lighting effects that help make the diverse natural and urban environments of Galar look extremely enticing to explore.

One big question, though, is how complex ad satisfying the gameplay is going to be. Sure, Pokémon’s oldest fans have been playing the games for more than 20 years at this point, but it’s first and foremost a kids’ series. Then there are all the newcomer casual fans who enjoy the Pokémon Go mobile game, and the simplified mechanics of Let’s Go were also a purposeful concession to players who aren’t particularly experienced gamers or otherwise not interested in a tough challenge.

To hear the developers tell it, though, they’re looking to satisfy everyone with Sword and Shield. Producer Junichi Masuda describes the new games as being intended for:

“For the veteran Pokémon trainers who have experienced so many adventures with us up until now. For the new trainers who held a Poké Ball for the first time in the Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! game, or the Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! game. And for all those out there looking to become Pokémon trainers for the first time.”

▼ Speaking of veterans, franchise mascot Pikachu shows up in the Sword and Shield announcement video just long enough to get tail-slapped in the face.

Masuda’s comments are followed by similarly encouraging words from director Shigeru Omori, who promises:

“We’re challenging ourselves to try new things, while still treasuring what makes Pokémon special.”

Unfortunately, the video ends without any mention of a specific release date. However, Ishihara assures us that the games will be out sometime in late 2019, and that they’ll be a simultaneous worldwide release, and between that, the start of online orders for those awesome Pokémon dress shirts, and the second trailer for the live-action Detective Pikachu movie, we’d say it was a very, very good Pokémon Day.

Source, images: YouTube/Nintendo
Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s psyched about Sword and Shield, but a little frustrated that he’s now going to have to learn both the Japanese and English names of the new Pokémon species.