This Is Pokemon's New Sword & Shield Region, Galar

Is that Big Ben?


Nintendo debuted the new Pokemon RPGs coming to Nintendo Switch this year during its special Pokemon Nintendo Direct on Wednesday morning. A new generation of games--Gen 8--means new starters, though there are plenty of returning Pokemon, so your might favorite might still make the cut. But it also means an entirely new region to explore; rather than go back to Kanto, Johto, or any of the places we know, Pokemon Sword and Shield are set in the Galar region. Our look at the gameplay video gives some sense of the real-life setting that inspired it.

Based on what we've seen so far, Galar looks to be very heavily inspired by the UK. It's full of cottages and Victorian architecture, and an overview even showed a tall clock tower that appears similar to the famous Big Ben tower in London, England. The setting also appears to offer a variety of weather types, including winter weather that requires a change of clothes. You might also notice some mysterious symbols scattered throughout; we're not sure if they have any significance at this point, but they could prove to be significant.

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The names "Sword" and "Shield" also invoke imagery of Medieval knights, often associated with English history. In a tweet from 2018 that may have slyly teased the game, Game Freak specifically tagged Nintendo of Europe. At one point in the trailer the player character dons a soccer-like uniform and enters a huge stadium, which contributes to the European feel.

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This wouldn't be the first time Pokemon has been set in a region inspired by Europe. While many of the earlier Pokemon RPGs have been set in areas based on Japanese settings, the Kalos region of Pokemon X and Y was based on Paris and the surrounding French countryside. Other notable non-Japanese regions have included Unova from Black and White (based on New York City) and Alola from Sun and Moon (based on Hawaii).

The debut also laid out the three new Gen 8 starters, and they're just adorable. We've also rounded up all the Pokemon in Sword and Shield we've seen so far.

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