Kaiju-sized battles, multiplayer raids, and more revealed for Pokemon Sword and Shield

With a long pop-cultural history involving kaijus, you can trust Japan to turn any old creatures into colossal behemoths. Even Pokemon aren’t exempt from kaiju-fication it seems, with Nintendo’s upcoming Switch titles, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, showcasing how trainers can upsize their cuddly companions on the battlefield. 

New Pokemon, gameplay mechanics, and the release date were revealed for Pokemon Sword and Shield this morning, showing off a vast world with various environments to explore. Weather, location, and time determine the types of wild Pokemon you encounter — a Rhydon might roam in a desert sandstorm, while a Golurk lumbers near a ruined tower at night. 

The most pleasantly surprising reveal, however, is the fact that you can run raids with other players. Red beams shooting up into the sky mark something called Max Raid locations, and when initiated with four fellow trainers, players can do battle with a Dynamax Pokemon — basically giant-sized versions of regular ones. 

To defeat these raid bosses, one of the four trainers can also super-size their Pokemon (using an item called the Dynamax Band), which will stay colossal for three turns. Obviously, Dynamaxed Pokemon also get boosted versions of the moves they already know. Then there are the mammoth-sized versions of Pokeballs as well. How else will you catch kaijus? 

The end of the trailer also gave us a glimpse at two legendary Pokemon that’ll serve as mascots for Pokemon Sword and Shield. Nope, it’s not Aegislash, a Pokemon that’s literally a sword and shield. Say hello to god dogs Zamazenta and Zacian — the former sporting a shield-like shell at the front of its body while the latter just… carries a big sword in its mouth? Can’t imagine that Zacian will be able to speak or growl properly, but it looks badass nonetheless. 

pokemon sword and shield
Zacian (right) and Zamazenta (left). YouTube screengrab

IGN observed that the gameplay mechanics revealed this morning match up with leaked “details” dropped in a 4Chan thread last month. You can check out some of the supposed leaks here, but do take ‘em all with a Dynamax-sized pinch of salt. 

What’s for sure is that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will release worldwide come November 15 this year.

ilyas@asiaone.com