Nintendo is getting ready to release the first mainline Switch Pokemon series later this year with Pokemon Sword and Shield. Both titles are scheduled to come out this winter, and Nintendo revealed that the new titles are designed with a key difference in mind, compared to Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee.
In the most recent financial briefing to investors, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa laid out its vision for Pokemon Sword and Shield. Unlike Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, which were spinoff remakes of the first Pokemon games, Sword and Shield continues the series from Pokemon Sun and Moon.
As such, Pokemon Sword and Shield is being designed specifically for handheld mode, and without an emphasis on some of the unique mechanics that made Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee geared towards new players. In a statement Furukawa says:
"Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, which were released in November of last year, are designed to highlight the fun of Nintendo Switch in TV mode, for example by waving the controller at the TV screen to capture Pokemon."
By contrast, Furukawa says of Sword and Shield, "Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are being developed to emphasize the fun of playing Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. We want these games to be played not only by longtime Pokemon fans, but also by consumers whose first encounter with the series was on a dedicated video game platform with Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee."
The Pokemon Let's Go titles de-emphasized combat in favor of capturing as many Pokemon as possible. To make this more enjoyable, Nintendo tied the Pokemon capture experience to motion controls and even released a unique Pokeball controller.
But Pokemon Sword and Shield will be returning to its handheld roots it seems from the original Game Boy days. With a focus on tablet mode, it sounds like there won't be a serious attention to motion controls, or anything that might detract from the portable experience. In other words, a more traditional Pokemon experience, but on a more powerful console.
This is what we expected from Sword and Shield when it was revealed, and Nintendo has confirmed that Pokemon Let's Go was designed for a newer audience possibly more familiar with the mobile title Pokemon Go. Sword and Shield will introduce that audience to a more classic, portable version of Pokemon.
Check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield guide for more coverage.