Happy Pokemon Day, folks! In celebration of the release of the first generation of Pokemon Games 23 years ago today, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have finally lifted the lid on this year's brand new, 8th Generation of Pokemon games: Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Set in the Galar region - ostensibly based off of Great Britain (pretty much just England though, really) - the first brand new Pokemon games for the Nintendo Switch really put the system to work in bringing this new region to life. Galar is an expansive region with diverse environments— an idyllic countryside, contemporary cities, thick forest, and craggy, snow-covered mountains. In what's presumably a nod to a combination of classic Northern English cities and London, there's also a quite industrial feel to certain areas of the game, too. Something that's quite unique to a series that's either very naturalistic or very futuristic in its settings.
Although the world is brought to life in more detail than ever before, the Pokemon battles look very familliar. There are no big visual changes - beyond an improvement in textures and lighting - to the battle system that's been in use since X/Y, but the Switch continues to do a great job in realising it.
We'll have to wait and see whether there will be any gameplay changes to these games, but it seems that after a dalliance with trying new things in Let's Go and the previous Generation, GameFreak have reverted to the standard "fight gym, get badges, become champion" formula with pretty typical random wild encounters and trainer battles.
We did get a slight hint at the potential for something new to the series with a view of the protagonist heading out into a football stadium in a football kit, though. So watch this space for more.
As well as our first look at the game, we also got to see the first three new Pokemon of Generation 8: the starter Pokemon.
Grookey is a Grass-type Chimp Pokemon and is described as "mischievous and full of boundless curiosity".
Scorbunny is a Fire-type Rabbit Pokemon. It's "bursting with energy" and "always running about".
Finally, Sobble is a Water-type Lizard Pokemon and is described as "stealthy" and "shoots out attacks as it hides itself in water".
We didn't get to see any other new Pokemon, though we can't help but wonder if this hillside chalk drawing (not unlike those you can actually find across Britain) might be our first glimpse at at least one of the game's new Legendary Pokemon...
If you missed today's Direct you can watch the full thing here, or you can watch the trailer itself below. As ever, we'll bring you more information on Sword and Shield as we get it in the run up to its release at the end of this year. Let us know what you think of the new game's style, the region and the new Pokemon in the comments below!