E3 2019 begins in just a few days, but even before that, Pokemon fans can look forward to some announcements. On Wednesday, June 5 at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET, Nintendo will be holding a special Pokemon Sword and Shield Direct that will contain "roughly 15 minutes of new information" about the Nintendo Switch games. The original Sword and Shield announcement showed off the three new starter Pokemon, the new Galar region, and a few other details, but there's still a lot left to learn. Here are our big predictions for the Pokemon Direct.
A Release Date: Correct!
When Pokemon Sword and Shield were announced, they were given a late-2019 release window. That's fast approaching, so it stands to reason that the June 5 Direct will confirm the exact date. The most recent Pokemon games--Sun and Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, and Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee--all released in November, so I'll go ahead and predict a November 2019 release date.
Was this a stretch? No. But was I right? You bet! Pokemon Sword and Shield have been confirmed for a November 15, 2019 release date. You can learn more in our pre-order guide.
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More Pokemon, Including Legendaries: Correct!
So far, the only new Pokemon we've seen for Gen 8 are the three starters: Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble. The Pokemon Direct will include a mix of run-of-the-mill Pokemon--think the Pidgey and Rattata of Galar--and Sword and Shield's legendary Pokemon, which would presumably be on the games' boxes. It would also be great to see the starters' evolved forms, but because they've already had their day in the sun, I think we'll have to wait to see those.
Right again! We were introduced to several new Galar Pokemon as well as the two legendaries, Zamazanta and Zacian (who are good boys).
A New Battle Mechanic: Correct!
The basic Pokemon formula has largely stayed the same over the years, but the series has been good about regularly introducing new battle mechanics to keep things interesting. X and Y had Mega Evolution, Sun and Moon had Z-Moves (and Battle Royals), and Sword and Shield will probably have something spicy to try out. There's even a circular red-and-blue symbol seen throughout the announcement trailer, including in the games' Japanese logos, that would seem to indicate a new mechanic--a crystal logo appeared in Sun and Moon's Japanese logos, representing Z-Crystals--but there's otherwise no indication of what it might be. I don't have a guess, either.
I really nailed this, I think. Sword and Shield are introducing a new mechanic called Dynamax, which makes your Pokemon giant and adds other benefits in battle. Like Mega Evolution, only one Pokemon can be Dynamaxed at once, and it only lasts for three turns on top of that, so you have to use it wisely.
Story Details And Version Differences: Mostly Correct!
Finally, I'm willing to bet the Pokemon Direct will include some story info. What's the deal with the Galar region? What sort of Team will you be up against, if any? The Pokemon Direct will have character intros and some basic details to lay out Sword and Shield's vibe. I'll go one step further and say that we'll also learn what some of the version differences are, whether it's a gameplay gimmick like Sun and Moon's day-night shift or simply what Pokemon you might find in each.
Okay, so this is the one that I maybe didn't do as well with. We did get to meet some of Sword and Shield's characters and learned more about the vibe of the Galar region, but we didn't hear anything about the version differences or a Team Rocket equivalent.
What's Left For E3?
It seems a bit premature holding a Sword and Shield Direct right before E3, right? What will be left? While it's unlikely Nintendo will reiterate much from the Pokemon Direct during its June 11 E3 presentation, that presentation will be followed by three days of Treehouse streams. In previous years, those streams have featured in-depth gameplay demos, sometimes with developer commentary; Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee got the spotlight last year. The Treehouse streams would be a great opportunity to expand upon what we learn during the June 5 Direct without having to spend precious time going over specifics.