Pokémon Sword[a] and Pokémon Shield[b] are 2019 role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. They are the first installments in the eighth generation of the Pokémon video game series and the second in the series, after Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, to be released on a home game console. Originally teased at E3 2017 and announced in February 2019, Pokémon Sword and Shield were released on November 15, 2019.
Sword and Shield’s concept planning began immediately following the completion of Pokémon Sun and Moon in 2016, while full production began a year later in September 2017. Like previous installments, they chronicle the journey of a young Pokémon trainer aiming to become the Pokémon Champion, this time in the new Galar region, which is based on the United Kingdom. The main objective of the games is to dethrone the Pokémon League Champion, Leon,
in a tournament that various other Gym Leaders and rivals also take part in, whilst dealing with Team Yell and a nefarious conspiracy within the League. Sword and Shield introduce 81 new Pokémon alongside 13 regional variants of pre-existing Pokémon; Dynamaxing, which increases the size of Pokémon under certain conditions; Gigantamaxing,
which additionally changes the form of certain Pokémon; and the Wild Area, which is a large, open-world area with free camera movement that contains co-op raid battles. The two games also reintroduce features previously seen in Sun and Moon and Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, such as regional variants and roaming Pokémon depicted in the overworld.
The decision to not include all pre-existing Pokémon in Sword and Shield was met with backlash from a segment of the fan community, resulting in a controversy known as “Dexit”, and calls for a boycott months ahead of their release. Despite this, Sword and Shield received generally positive reviews from critics. Particular praise was aimed at the creature design,
new features, and the emphasis on simplicity, player freedom, and streamlined encounters, although some criticized the game’s smaller Pokédex and a perceived lack of polish or depth. By June 2020, Sword and Shield had sold more than 18 million copies worldwide, becoming the fastest-selling games on the Nintendo Switch, and are currently the fifth-best-selling games on the Switch.
The games received two downloadable content expansion packs in the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass;: The Isle of Armor was released on June 17, 2020, and The Crown Tundra is set to release on October 22, 2020. The Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass physical bundle pack, which includes both expansion packs preloaded, will be released on November 6, 2020.1