The Pokemon Company continues to deliver Pokemon Sword and Shield details at a steady drip, with this week’s two-minute infusion containing a multitude of new reveals. Embedded below, this latest trailer showcases brand-new Pokemon, an even bigger kind of Dynamax transformation dubbed “Gigantamax,” as well as two new version-specific gym leaders, which I’m sure the artists on Twitter are positively chuffed over.
Pokemon Sword and Shield will be the first Pokemon game to have version-exclusive gym leaders. Bea, a fighting-type trainer, will challenge players as a gym leader in Pokemon Sword. Meanwhile, a ghost-type gym leader named Allister will haunt the darkened corridors of Pokemon Shield. It’s not exactly clear what purpose exclusive gym leaders will serve in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Historically, Pokemon games have always had version-specific Pokemon, which gave players a reason to trade Pokemon with other trainers — I send Vulpix from my copy of Pokemon Blue, they send Scyther from their copy of Red, and so on.
It’s possible that Bea and Allister grant different move-teaching items (called “TMs,” short of “Technical Machines”), which would add a second layer of complexity to the world of trading. Not only could trainers trade exclusive Pokemon, but they could also trade Pokemon that knew exclusive abilities, and who knows what kind of impact that would have. We’ll have to wait for The Pokemon Company to clarify though; it’s just as likely that these two gyms amount to the Pokemon equivalent of a palette swap.
Elsewhere in the new trailer, we get our first look at the Galar region’s “Gigantamax” phenomenon. Unlike Dynamax transformations, which allow any Pokemon to become enormous versions of themselves (provided they’re in the right part of Galar), Gigantamax transformations make Pokemon even bigger than that, while also changing their appearance and unlocking new moves.
Only certain species of Pokemon are capable of going Gigantamax, according to The Pokemon Company, and even then “only rare specimens will be able to Gigantamax.” This means that even if you catch a Drednaw, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be a Gigantamax-capable, for instance. The Pokemon Company did not clarify why some Pokemon can go Gigantamax while others can’t, or if this is an inherent ability or something that can be learned.
Finally, today’s trailer also debuted a few new Galar Pokemon, including one that’s just a pile of whipped cream. Alcremie, as they are known, is a new Fairy-type “Cream Pokemon” that expels whipped cream from its body. Alcremie cream is “invariably delicious,” according to The Pokemon Company, and it’s used by pastry chefs across Galar. In battle, Alcremie can use its cream to distract/blind opponents before it goes Gigantamax, at which point it transforms into a 98-foot-tall cake monster.
Once this happens, any Fairy-type moves that Alcremie knows will be replaced with “G-Max Finale,” Alcremie’s Gigantamax move. G-Max Finale deals damage to the opponent(s) while also healing every Pokemon on Alcremie’s side. (The wording in the press release makes it unclear as to whether G-Max Finale heals all currently-summoned Pokemon on Alcremie’s side, or all Pokemon period, summoned or not.)
Rolycoly, a new Rock-type “Coal Pokemon” (above left), gains speed when attacked by Water or Fire-type attacks, thanks to its “Steam Engine” ability. It can also illuminate dark areas with its glowing red eye, though it’s unclear if this is just Pokedex flavor, or if it’ll actually be possible in-game. Duraludon (above right) is a Steel/Dragon-type “Alloy Pokemon” with an ability called “Light Metal/Heavy Metal,” and unfortunately, The Pokemon Company’s press release does not explain what that does or how it works. Bummer, dude!
At least we know that “their two arms have slightly different shapes,” which seems like extremely vital information, and that Duraludons are “known to rust easily” because of their metal bodies. A once-mighty Pokemon crumbling to nothing from rust feels like some real heavy Dark Souls ish, and that’s not exactly what I’m looking for in a Pokemon game, so hopefully that’s just more upsetting fodder for the Pokedex.
Pokemon Sword and Shield debut in North America on November 15, 2019.