Pokemon Sword and Shield is Being Developed With an Emphasis on Portability

Pokemon Sword and Shield is Being Developed With an Emphasis on Portability

The upcoming Pokemon games are returning to its handheld roots.

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.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

In other news

Shin Megami Tensei 5 Might Launch By End of March 2021, According to Sega

This is merely a projection for the company, though.

Baldur's Gate 3's Early Access Launch Will Miss August, but It's "Just Around the Corner"

A release date and more will be revealed at this month's "Panel From Hell."

Blizzard Employees Share Salary Details Amid Ongoing Pay Dispute

Employees shared stories of reportedly avoiding meals to make rent.

Link's Crafting From Breath of the Wild Makes Conspicuous Appearance in Serious Historical Fiction

John Boyne's A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom just needs a couple of sequels: A Traveller at the Gates of Courage and A Traveller at the Gates of Power.

Need help?

Witcher 3: How to Start the Blood and Wine DLC and Meet Its Level Requirements

We explain how to get to Toussaint and what level you should be when you do.

Witcher 3: All the Correct Play Lines in "The Play's the Thing" Quest

We explain how to perform the Doppler's play with Priscilla, as well as whether to choose tragedy or comedy.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Mystery Gift Codes List (January 2020)

You can get free gifts in Pokemon Sword and Shield by entering certain Mystery Gift Codes. Here’s a full list of all the active codes available right now.

The Outer Worlds Shrink Ray - How to Get the Unique Shrink Ray Science Weapon

This is where you can get the Shrink Ray science weapon in The Outer Worlds, one of the unique weapons in the game.