Pokémon Sword & Shield will feature 18 gyms, exp share changes, and more…

Gyms to be split into minor and major leagues
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Sword and Shield are only a month away, but that won’t stop the news rolling in. The latest information, which comes from a Game Informer feature with GameFreak, has revealed that Sword and Shield are both set to feature a staggering 18 gyms.

In Sword & Shield, gyms will be divided into major and minor leagues, and the two versions will differ as to which will be which. For example, the Fighting-type gym will be in the major league in Sword, while the Ghost-type gym will be in the major league in Shield. As of yet, the presence of the minor league gyms within the story of the game is unclear; it’s possible that the minor league gyms will be present only as post-game content, or will exist as something more akin to a side-quest.

The move seems to continue the series’ 8th Gen entries trend of having its Pokémon League challenge mirror the Galar region’s real-world analog – with the stadium settings of Galarian gyms mirroring football in the UK. As the minor- and major-league distinction between gyms reflects that of the relegation system  in the UK’s wildly popular Premier League.

Super-sizing the number of gyms in the Galar region titles was only the biggest among a flurry of news regarding Pokémon Sword and Shield today. The games will also do away with the Exp. Share item that existed in prior entries, instead automatically splitting experience points among the Pokémon in a player’s party. Continuing a trend from the series’ more recent entries, it was also confirmed that the upcoming games will not require HMs in order to progress through the game’s overworld. Finally, the games will also be the first in the series to feature auto-saving.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are set to release for Nintendo Switch on November 15th, 2019. If you want to check out the full Game Informer feature, then be sure to look out for Issue 319 (that’s November 2019) on your newsagent’s shelf.