June's Pokemon Direct Introduces Gen VIII Pokemon, Wild Area, Dynamaxing

From new legendaries Zathian and Zamazenta, to the huge, open Wild Area, Raid Battles, the return of Gym battles, and more, today's Pokemon Direct was packed full of info.

Today's Pokemon Direct revealed a lot of new information about the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, from new areas of the Galar region to completely new battle mechanics.

While we previously looked at the six reasons you should be excited for the games, these new revelations double down on that sentiment. 

Along with the information below, one major piece was revealed by the Direct: Sword and Shield will release worldwide on November 15. Currently, a double pack is up for pre-order as well.

Native Galar Pokemon and Legendaries

The new trailer revealed a host of new Pokemon, which then received a short introduction from the games' creative designer.

The first is Wooloo, a sheep Pokemon prized for its wool by weavers in certain areas of the Galar region. Its wool is used to create popular goods in the region, and it's a normal type.

Next is Gossifleur, a grass type flower Pokemon. Its pollen is said to have healing properties, and it evolves into Eldegoss, another grass type whose seeds promote growth and revitalization.

Dreadnaw is the giant blue 'mon shown off, the water-rock "bite Pokemon." It's supposed to be vicious and difficult to train. In keeping with that theme, its favorite habits are apparently gnawing off chunks of rock and iron.

Finally is the taxi Pokemon Corviknight. It's a giant corvid-type bird (flying and steel type) that takes the place of Fly in Sword and Shield. Corviknight ferries the player back and forth to any town they've already visited in the game, which suggests Gen VIII will continue the tradition of having no HMs.

There are many more new Galar-specific Pokemon that have yet to be revealed, though players can look forward to returning 'mon from previous generations as well, including Growlithe, Axew, and Inkay.

There was a special video at the end of the presentation introducing the Galar region's legendary Pokemon as well: Zathian and Zamazenta. These are the creatures featured on the mock-up box art and the official box art.

Both resemble wolves, and the titular sword and shield seem to be built into them. The teaser shows the two about to fight before another power distracts them, so it's possible Gen VIII will feature a special third legendary Pokemon a well, like Necrozma and Rayquaza in previous generations.

Dynamaxing

Gen VIII is doing away with Mega Evolutions in favor of Dynamaxing. This new feature is a phenomenon unique to the Galar region, where affected Pokemon become massive, gaining increases in their stats and seeing their entire move set change to Max Moves as well. Dynamaxing can take place once per battle, but it only lasts for three turns.

The Wild Area

The Pokemon Company showed off a major new feature in the form of a special area in the game: The Wild Area. This is a huge environment stretching between major cities in the region and is essentially Pokemon's first open world-styled area. It features a freely movable camera, which can add an even greater sense of depth and scale, along with plenty of secrets to uncover, including hidden items.

The Wild Area is home to a wide range of wild Pokemon as well, but which Pokemon players encounter depends on where they are in the Area and what the weather is like.

It's worth noting the trailer shows wild roaming Pokemon in a variety of locations, and it isn't restricted to the Wild Area. The Pokemon Company confirmed players will see the Pokemon walking, swimming, and even hiding on the overworld map.

The Wild Area is also home to yet another new feature: Max Raid Battles. These battles borrow from Pokemon GO and pit up four trainers against a Dynamaxed version of a specific Pokemon. One of the trainers can Dynamax their own Pokemon to make the fight easier, though the opponent remains in Dynamaxed form for the entire encounter.

Max Raid Battles can take place over local wireless or a global wireless connection, meaning players can hook up with friends and trainers from around the world. However, multiplayer isn't required to participate in Max Raid Battles. If three other trainers aren't around, the game provides three support trainers to fill those spots.

Who's Who: The Galar Edition

We've got a better idea about some of the region's important characters, too. The usual plot setup makes its return: the player is off on a journey to become the best trainer in the region. That means they'll have to challenge the reigning Champion, Leon.

Leon is basically the equivalent to a mega-popular footballer (soccer player), sporting a football uniform and inspiring a huge following throughout the region. The one Pokemon shown off from his team is Charizard, which will presumably get the Dynamax treatment as well.

Leon's younger brother Hop serves as the player's rival, and like Hau before him, he chooses the Pokemon the player's starter is strong against (Sobble to the player's Grookey, for example).

Milo is the grass type Gym Leader, and it appears he'll come into battle with at least five Pokemon if the Pokeballs on his pants are anything to go by.

Details remain scarce about how many Gym Leaders there are, but the Pokemon Company did say all Gym Leaders will have at least one Dynamax Pokemon on their team. Which Pokemon can get the Dynamax treatment still isn't certain, though it does seem like quite a few are eligible, including starters, Raichu, Clefable, and Gyrados.

Big fights like the battle against Leon and the Gym Leaders take place in stadiums and are a key part of Galar culture; basically, they're like major football games.

One feature mentioned is that Dynamaxing increases the audience's energy level. Whether that has any bearing on the match's outcome isn't clear, though.

Finally, on the character front, we were introduced to Professor Magnolia and her granddaughter Sonia. Professor Magnolia as the Galar region's professor, studying the Dynamax phenomenon alongside Sonia, who acts as her research assistant.

Well, almost finally. Rotom makes its return as a major character in the form of the Rotom Phone. The Pokedex is included in the Rotom Phone, but the phone can also be used for various other things, like making a bike go faster or helping it travel over water.

While we wait for even more information to be released, be sure to head over to our Sword and Shield pages for more on the upcoming Pokemon games. 

Contributor

Josh Broadwell's gaming career began early--1993, to be exact--when he was introduced to the Super Nintendo and Super Mario World. Despite all the magnificent games the SNES and, later, the original PlayStation had to offer, it wasn't until the GameBoy Advance era that he finally discovered RPGs, which quickly became a favorite genre. He holds a BA in history, an MA in history, and is currently pursuing an MA in strategic communication.

Published Jun. 6th 2019

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