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The new Pokemon Sword and Shield trailer explained

Here comes a brand new world in the form of the diverse, vast, and expansive Galar region. Nintendo did its thing and captured our hearts and imaginations during a Pokemon-centered Direct that gave us some more information on Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. For months we've been left to speculate, and we'll probably do some more speculation, but now we have some definite details on how these games are different from previous titles in the beloved Pokemon franchise.

First of all, the games will be coming to the Nintendo Switch Nov. 15, 2019. Say goodbye to the days of playing Pokemon on your trusty Nintendo DS, but welcome a new era of 3D gaming able to support exciting new mechanics like open world exploration and collaborative raid battles. The game's new trailer gave us a first look as to how big and beautiful a full-fledged mainline Pokemon can be with the power of the Switch. We saw big cities, huge gyms, vast ecosystems filled with wild Pokemon and many other reasons to get seriously pumped for the games' release. The hype train is real and it's filled with our instant infatuation with Wooloo. What does it all mean? We'll give you the rundown on all the revelations the trailer graced upon us.

Woo(loo)! New Pokemon!

Easily the most eye-catching part of any announcement related to a new generation of Pokemon is the new faces we can catch and befriend as trainers. In this new trailer, we were privileged to meet five new Pokemon: Corviknight, Wooloo, Drednaw, Gossefleur, and Eldegoss.

Corviknight is the raven Pokemon, its name a perfect pun on the family name "corvid," which includes ravens, crows, and magpies. This thing has the look of a menacing black knight, and is described as one of the fiercest creatures in Galar's skies. But this raven Pokemon is also the rideshare Pokemon: Corviknights are used as taxis in Galar's cities, able to fly the player back to any place they'd already visited. Less intimidating is the super cute, adorably round Wooloo, a sheep Pokemon prized for its ultra-soft wool. Wooloos will roll away from conflict. (Take a moment to say, "Awwwww.") Fans of Squirtle beware: Drednaw isn't the turtle for you. This thing can bite through iron and takes a skilled trainer to catch. Grass type fans got treated to not one, but two new grass types. Gossifleur and its evolved form Eldegoss are floaty little flowers with healing properties.

To hit home the British vibes, Englishman James Turner was charged as art director at Game Freak for this game; earlier in his career, he was the very first Westerner to design Pokemon. He had previously made Phantump, Vullaby, Vanillite, and some of the Ultra Beasts from this past generation.

Meet your rival and the new professor

As with every new Pokemon game, you're given new friends and rivals (frenemies?). Your neighbor Hop is your rival. He's got a determined smile and a chip on his shoulder: Hop's brother Leon is the undefeated champion of Galar. He's never been bested in a match and is known as "the greatest Trainer in all of Galar." Hop wants to become Champion too, but he's going to have to get through you first. (And you'll have to get through Leon eventually. Gulp.)

To help you on your Pokemon journey is the queenly Professor Magnolia. She carries a Corviknight cane and a lot of insight into the mysteries of the Dynamax Pokemon. She is assisted by her granddaughter, Sonia. Sonia is a budding Pokemon researcher and the childhood friend of Leon. Maybe she could get you an autograph? These characters will both help and challenge players on their journey toward Pokemon mastery.

Think big: Dynamax Pokemon

After the trailer, we were left to wonder if the folks at Game Freak were inspired by the renaissance that classic kaiju movies like Godzilla have been enjoying. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, the Pokemon get big. Really big. Godzilla big. Apparently, "Dynamax" is a phenomenon observed only in the Galar region. Pokemon become huge and powerful, meaning that it's going to either take another huge and powerful Pokemon or a big group of small but mighty ones to take them down. Sound familiar? If you've been playing Pokemon Go, this sounds an awful lot like a raid battle, where trainers gather together to take down one oversized Pokemon. As Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee borrowed Pokemon Go's capture method, so has the next installment of games adapted raid battles.

You can flock to red-marked areas in the Galar region and participate in these Max Raid Battles with friends or strangers. Additionally, in both Gym Battles and raids you can Dynamax (it's a verb now) your own Pokemon. Your extra large Pokemon will be be larger than life for three turns and will have the added benefit of special attacks that pack a serious punch. But be warned: they can only do this once per battle.

Sort of open world: the Wild Area

If you thought the Safari Zone was impressive, get ready for the Wild Area. The Wild Area is comprised of lands wherein Pokemon dwell freely, and in these painterly Breath of the Wild-like areas, players are in control of their own cameras, able to forge their own paths. No longer are you restrained to a single pathway or route between cities. The power of the Nintendo Switch has given trainers the room to wander and seek out Pokemon.

The Wild Area's Pokemon population changes with the location and weather. In the trailer, we saw that dark areas might be haunted by Duskulls, sandstorms have Rhydons and Tyranitars wandering around, and the rivers are full of Milotic and Mantine. Rain seems to summon water types, just as patches of grass might contain grass types. In the Wild Area, Pokemon can be seen flying or walking around in plain sight, rather like how you could spot them easily in Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee.

The legendaries unveiled

The titles of Pokemon Sword and Shield gave us a small hint as to what to expect from the legendary Pokemon of the Galar region. Each game was emblazoned with a wolf's head that would make any Stark smile. True to form, the tail end of the trailer gave us a look at Zacian and Zamazenta, the two regal wolves ready to face down any challenge with — forgive us — sword and shield. Zacian literally carries a sword in its fanged maw while Zamazenta is covered with protrusions that look like gilded shields.

In the trailer, we see these two attacking each other. It's like watching an unstoppable force meet an immovable object: Zacian's blade can cut through anything while Zamazenta can turn back any attack. Who's to say how powerful they would be when teamed up? They do team up, their fight forgotten, when the wind stirs the leaves and they seem to sense something. Zamazenta's shield clicks into place and Zacian's sword suddenly transforms into something that Devil May Cry's Dante would envy. What does this mean? We don't know. It turns out that these two Pokemon are so mysterious, that even the people of Galar are unaware of their existence. This is a stark difference from previous games wherein legendary Pokemon are typically well known in myth and legend. This is just another way in which Pokemon Sword and Shield are setting themselves apart from previous titles.

Gym battles are a little different

There's no room for trainers to be shy in the new games. In order to become a Pokemon master, you have to battle in gyms. Pokemon Sword and Shield make these fights a public affair, complete with national (regional?) television coverage. The first trailer revealed that the gyms would be modeled after soccer stadiums, as befits a British-based region like Galar. Inside, however, the Pokemon battles that veteran players know and love are unchanged. Mostly.

First of all, each and every battle has a massive audience of screaming fans. In the Galar region, Pokemon battles are the biggest form of entertainment, so trainers are cheered on as a stadium full of fans watches on. The stadiums have to be big in order to fit the battles, and the muscles, of the gym leaders. Players are already going wild over the buff but baby-faced Grass-type gym leader Milo. We get to see him and his Mothra-sized Eldegoss in the trailer. That's right: Dynamax Pokemon are allowed in gym battles. The green turf is torn up by the feet of a super huge Grookey . At some point in the game, players are given Dynamax Bands in order to unleash kaiju-sized, superpowered versions of their Pokemon. It's no wonder that gym battles are so popular.

The internet reacts

As usual for a Pokemon announcement, fans are incredibly excited. The internet has essentially exploded with an ardent infatuation for the irresistible Wooloo and enthusiasm for Corviknight. The Pokemon Company itself seemed to have acknowledged how Sobble was a quick fan favorite, and thus treated the #SobbleSquad to some Sobble facts on Twitter: "When Sobble touches water, its body blends into its surroundings. Sobble is … a bit timid. If Sobble feels threatened, it will cry and cause everyone nearby to start crying as well. Please protect this Pokémon, #SobbleSquad."

Zacian, the legendary wolf and wielder of a seriously sharp sword, has no need for protection. Or maybe it does considering that its design is getting memed into oblivion. Fans have relentlessly compared it to the Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls as well as images of puppies with knives.

The internet is also abuzz about a two-week-old leak that seems to have been proven accurate by the trailer. Fake leaks are common, especially in the bowels of 4Chan, but the thread mentioned Hop, Sonia, Leon, Wooloo, and the Dynamax mechanic long before the trailer was actually released. Thus, fans are examining other apparent tidbits to look forward to, as detailed by this alleged leak: there will be an electric corgi Pokemon and an evil legendary named Eternus, you can camp and cook curry for your Pokemon, and Gigantimaxing will make Pokemon take on wholly new, hugely big forms. Only time, and spoilers, will tell if all this is true.