By Leah McDonald / June 5th, 2019
Did someone say giant pokémon in today’s Pokémon Direct?
During Wednesday’s Pokémon Direct, we got a sneak peek at Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield’s newest battle gimmick: Dynamax’ing. Once per battle, trainers will have the ability to Dynamax a single pokémon, super-sizing it to gargantuan proportions – and increasing its power at the same time. The ability lasts three turns before the pokémon will revert back to its original state, so players need to be strategic with how they use the system.
“Mastering Dynamax will be key to becoming a full-fledged pokémon trainer,” says planning director Kazumasa Iwao from Game Freak.
Since Galar Region pokémon are able to Dynamax, gyms themselves have been designed with this in mind, with huge stadium ceilings to allow for the giants to battle it out. During the game, players will meet a handful of gym leaders and rival pokémon trainers who all use giant pokémon. Some of those characters include Leon, the region’s greatest pokémon trainer; his younger brother Hop, the player’s rival; and gym trainer Milo, a Grass-Type expert.
Players can also encounter wild Dynamax’d pokémon in the Wild Area, an open-world region where pokémon roam free. The type of pokémon players will encounter is dependent on the time of day and the weather. Players can freely explore the Wild Area by shaking trees, combing through the long grass, and even fishing, on their quest to find new and familiar pokémon .
While in the Wild Area, players can join local co-op or online multiplayer to take part in a Max Raid Battle, which pits four trainers against a wild Dynamax’d pokémon. In these battles, the wild pokémon will remain Dynamax’d the entire time and have access to new powers that make it an “extremely formidable opponent,” Iwao says. Only one trainer of the four can summon a Dynamax’d pokémon to fight the wild pokémon , so “coordinating with your team will be crucial,” he adds. Defeating the Dynamax’d wild pokémon gives the trainers a chance to catch it.
The types of Dynamax’d pokémon players encounter in the Wild Area will depend on where in the zone they are and the time of day. Some types of pokémon will only become available to catch in the Wild Area after players defeat them in a Max Raid Battle. “We hope trainers will join forces and test their skills against a variety of pokémon ,” Iwao says.
“Max Raid Battles feature strategic, cooperative four-player gameplay against a single pokémon, which is a first for the main series of pokémon games,” says Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield producer Junichi Masuda.
The Galar Region is home to several “never-before seen” pokémon, as well as some familiar faces, says art director James Turner from Game Freak. Some of the pokémon we were introduced to in Wednesday’s Pokémon Direct include:
A sheep-type pokémon, the Woolo’s special feature is its fluffy fur, “treasured by weavers in the region who us it to craft popular specialty goods.”
A flowering-type pokémon, the Gossifleur “favors places with clean air and water, and its pollen is said to have healing properties.”
The evolved form of Gossifleur, the Eldegoss is a cotton-type pokémon with small seeds scattered across its head. The seeds are said to promote growth in plants and can revitalize people and pokémon.
A bite-type pokémon, the Drednaw can bite huge chunks of rock and iron, and its “vicious nature” makes it difficult to tame.
A raven-type pokémon, the Corviknight will act as a “flying taxi” to transport players to towns they’ve previously visited.
Game Freak also showed off two new Legenday pokémon of the Galar Region: Zacian and Zamazenta. Zacian carries a sword in its wolf-life jaws and Zamazenta has a shield-like mane.
On their journey, players will encounter a handful of helpful and rival characters, including:
The Galar Region’s champion, his “shining personality” has won him the admiration of pokémon trainers throughout the region, says Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield director Shigeru Ohmori.
Leon’s younger brother and the player’s rival.
The region’s professor, she specializes in studying the Dynamax phenomenon.
Professor Magnolia’s granddaughter and assistant.
A Grass-Type expert gym leader with a “tenacious” fighting style, Ohmori says.
Pokémon trainers around the world will be able to sink their teeth into Game Freak’s newest title when Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield release worldwide on Nov. 15, 2019.
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