Pokemon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch takes place in the stately Galar region, and like every region in the Pokemon universe, it has an ecosystem that's all its own. That means Pokemon Sword and Shield has new Pokemon for us to meet and snag. We were introduced to a few of those newcomers in June 5's Pokemon Direct presentation.
The Galar region is based around the real world's United Kingdom, so it shouldn't be surprising to learn some of Sword and Shield's new Pokemon are based around animals that are common in the U.K., and feature in local legends. (Much like how Yungoos from Pokemon Sun and Moon has a real-world counterpart in Hawaii's invasive mongoose species.)
Here's a rundown of the new Pokemon we met:
Nothing's more English than sheep roaming the countryside in search of human flesh (or so our British staff members tell me), and it seems the Galar region has its own sub-species of sheep. Wooloo supplies certain Galar towns with wool that's used for making clothing, rugs, and other goods. It's not much of a fighter; it prefers to roll away from combat. Yes, that's right. It rolls away. Imagine hiking through Galar and seeing herds of Wooloo roll uphill like great bales of wind-driven cotton. Glorious mental image, isn't it?
Corviknight is another shout-out to English fauna, specifically ravens (who, according to legend, guard the Tower of London). These huge red-eyed birds are strong enough to double as flying taxis for the people of the Galar region. Skarmory might have some serious competition for my favorite Flying/Steel-type.
Turtles are common in the Pokemon universe—see Squirtle, Turtwig, Torkoal, et al—but Drednaw has them all beat for bite power. This lumbering Pokemon is even capable of biting off chunks of rock and iron. Do not put your hand anywhere in the vicinity of that break. Unsurprisingly, Drednaw is stubborn and hard to tame; some trainers even release captured Drednaw back into the wild when they discover they're not easy to handle. Something tells me if you watch a trainer release an untamed Drednaw, you'll see they're down a couple of fingers.
Gossifleur are flower Pokemon that travel on Galar's winds by twisting its body and pedals. Its pollen is a powerful folk remedy if it's brewed into a tea. Gossifleur prefers unpolluted land and water, like most plants and flowers. (Except weeds, I guess.)
Eldegoss is the evolved form of Gossifleur, and to date, it's one of the only Galar region evolutions we've been allowed to see. Eldegoss is a big old pile of dandelion fluff that's covered in nutrient-rich seeds. Pokemon and people use these seeds as a food source, which makes me wonder if flocks of Wooloo just leisurely trail Eldegoss and take big bites out of their heads when they get hungry.
Zacian and Zamazenta (Legendary Pokemon)
Pokemon Sword and Shield's Legendary Pokemon are a little different this time around, as both are based on wolves instead of two different animal species. Zacian is said to be a graceful fighter that carries a sword in its mouth, not unlike everyone's favorite Great Grey Good Boy from Dark Souls. Zamazenta is iron-plated and capable of turning back any attack. The tail-end of the Pokemon Direct presentation suggests the two wolves once partnered up to take on an unseen threat. Giving wolves "Legendary" status in Galar seems appropriate, as wolves feature prominently in U.K. mythology, but are long-extinct in the region.
Returning Pokemon in the Galar Region
As we well-know by now, Pokemon are hardy critters capable of thriving in lots of ecosystems. Though the June 5 Pokemon Direct is short, it shows off lots of old favorites frolicking through the Galar region's wide open "Wild Area." You should run across Axew, Butterfree, Mudsdale, Gigalith, Snorlax, Rhydon, Golurk, Steelix, Braviary, Gyarados,, and others. In fact, Pokemon series veterans can grow to kaiju size thanks to a phenomenon called "Dynamaxing." While you'll mostly encounter humongous Pokemon in traditional trainer fights and gym battles, they also show up as raid fodder across the Galar countryside. When that happens, you can gather three other trainers and remind Dynamaxed Pokemon what "island dwarfism" means.
We learned tons more about Sword and Shield in today's Pokemon Direct, including the games' release date: November 15. We'll update our Pokemon Sword and Shield guide as more information keeps rolling in like a flock of Wooloos on a windy day.