Pokemon Sword and Shield will appear on Nintendo Switch worldwide Nov. 15, the company revealed Wednesday, whipping Pokemaniacs everywhere into frenzy ahead of E3 2019.
Nintendo gave us a 15-minute dose of fresh details about upcoming Switch games, showing off the Pokemon-embiggening Dynamax phenomenon, Max Raids and each game's super cool legendary wolves.
The mascot legendary good pups for Generation 8 are Zacian, which carries a sword in its mouth, and Zamazenta, which has a shield beard. The pair face off in forest, but appear to team up after sensing another presence -- perhaps hinting at another unrevealed legendary? Regardless, you can expect Zacian to be exclusive to Sword, while Zamazenta is probably only in Shield.
If you noticed that Zacian looked a lot like Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls, you're not alone. Bandai Namco highlighted the similarity in a cheeky tweet on Wednesday.
"If you're going to battle a legend then make sure to bring a big enough shield," the Dark Souls publisher wrote.
James Turner, art director at developer Game Freak, introduced us to a few new Pokemon species too: Wooloo the sheep, Gossifleur (which evolves into Eldegoss), snapping turtle Drednaw and Corviknight the flying taxi (which can take you back to any town you've visited).
Producer Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori talked about the Galar region's "towns in which you find humans and Pokemon working together" and revealed details about the wild area, which is like an open-world version of previous games' routes between cities.
Wild Pokemon wander freely here like last year's Pokemon Let's Go, but Sword and Shield let you control the camera to see what's around you. However, a tweet from the official Pokemon account hinted that encounters would work differently away from the wild area.
Watch this: Nintendo shows latest Pokemon game, Sword and Shield
"In tall grass or caves, battles with wild Pokemon will occur when you run into Pokemon that you can see wandering around," the company wrote. "You can also trigger battles by running into the ! icon that will pop up in patches of tall grass."
The Direct also showcased Dynamaxing, which lets Pokemon grow like Power Rangers baddies. This boosts their power, converting their moves into Max versions, but it can only be triggered once per battle and the Pokemon turns back to normal after three turns.
Wild Dynamax Pokemon also underpin the games' multiplayer Max Raid Battles -- you can connect to other three other players in the wild area to take them down. The wild ones stay big for the whole battle, so you'll need to work together to defeat them (and get a chance to catch them). It's pretty similar to the raid system in Pokemon Go, and the wild Dynamax Pokemon will vary depending on the area and weather.
We met a few new characters too; Galar region champion Leon has a Charizard (suggesting excellent taste), his younger brother Hop is your rival, Professor Magnolia studies the Dynamax phenomenon, Sonia is her assistant (and granddaughter), while Milo is the grass gym leader.
A few classic Pokemon showed up in the Direct too -- we spotted Bewear, Hippowdown, Golurk, Butterfree, Snover, Stufful, Gyarados, Flygon, Growlithe, Inkay, Sneasel, Diglett, Clefable and Wobuffet.
Sword and Shield, like every generation before it, will likely be very similar but feature slight differences. Usually, the stories are a little different and you can catch a slightly different selection of Pokemon so you can trade with your friends. Superfans can buy both versions in a double pack, with a gold steelbook apparently exclusive to Europe (since it only appeared in the UK version of the Direct).
Nintendo will have a more general Direct livestream on June 11 as part of the annual E3 gaming convention, which takes place in Los Angeles June 11-13, so we could get more Sword and Shield details there too.