Game Freak reveals new Pokémon, Rivals and more for Sword & Shield

Regional variants return!

After promising Pokéfans new information on the upcoming Pokémon Sword & Shield earlier this week, Game Freak delivered a short update which revealed new Pokémon, rivals, and the franchise’s latest criminal(?) organization Team Yell.

Fans of Pokémon Sun and Moon will be happy to learn that regional variants are returning in Sword & Shield with “Galarian Forms.” Only two new variant Pokémon were shown off: Galarian Weezing and a new line of Galarian Zigzagoon/Linoone forms with a special twist.

Galarian Weezing sports a pair of stylish smokestack styled top hats and poison gas as facial hair. Alongside the new design, Galarian Weezing also has a shiny new Poison/Fairy Typing and one new, still unknown ability option (alongside the familiar levitate).

Despite the positive reaction from fans about Weezing’s new look, the Galarian Zigzagoon line has far more interesting implications for gameplay. In addition to new Dark/Normal forms for Zigzagoon and Linoone, a new, regional exclusive evolution known as Obstagoon has been added to the evolution line.

This not only marks the first time a regional variant Pokémon has gotten a new evolution, it’s actually the first time a new evolution has been added to an existing Pokémon line since all the way back in Gen 4’s Diamond & Pearl (which has potentially interesting implications for a set of Gen 4 remakes).

Is it just me, or does this guy look like a KISS fan?

We also got the reveal of a new form-changing Pokémon called Morpeko. This Electric/Dark hamster Pokémon is able to switch between two forms: it’s “Full Belly Mode” and “Hangry Mode.” Morpeko can switch between the two forms at will with the use of its signature move Aura Wheel, which will change the type of signature attack.

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Marnie is one of your two main Rivals in Pokémon Sword & Shield

Alongside these new Pokémon, Game Freak also introduced players to a number of new characters, including the game’s two rivals Bede and Marnie. We don’t have much to go on for Bede, but Marnie is interesting because she has some kind of connection to Sword & Shield’s new (maybe not actually criminal) criminal organization, Team Yell.

The group seems reminiscent of the UK’s notoriously rowdy football (soccer for us Americans) clubs and was specifically called out as being “Marnie’s Wild Fans” in the trailer. There was also another kid shown alongside the player character during one of Marnie’s cutscenes, so it seems likely that the more recent trope of a friendly rival will also return.

Japan got a slightly different version of the trailer that gave us a better look at cutscenes, environments, and a new gameplay feature. Trainer animations seem to be at least slightly more detailed in battle than in previous generations, and despite early concerns about graphical fidelity, the glimpses we’re getting of the open part of the map are looking promising.

The trailer also showed off some new storefronts and teased a new feature which will allow you to send Pokémon who aren’t in your active roster off on missions that will earn you resources and EXP for participating Pokémon.

This trailer gave us a surprising amount of information to chew on for a 2-minute video, but if you’re still itching for more information on the Galar region, be sure to check out our series of Analysis videos on Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are set to launch worldwide later this year on November 15th, 2019.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Gameplay Trailer - A New Team and New Rivals