Both games release worldwide on November 15, 2019 for Nintendo Switch. There are currently no plans to release the games on other systems or platforms.
Each game takes place in the Galar region, a vast and expansive area abundant with forest, snow-covered mountains, and lush rolling hills. The Galar region also has a mysterious Wild Area where many Pokémon live. Additionally, the games’ director, Mr. Shigeru Ohmori, said the games are based on the United Kingdom, which is themed around “strength.”
Like previous titles in the main Pokémon series of video games, there are certain Pokémon exclusive to each version of the game. Also, a first for the series, there will be version-exclusive gyms; for example, the Ghost-type specialist Allister will be a Gym Leader in Pokémon Shield, while Bea, a Fighting-type specialist, will be a Gym Leader in Pokémon Sword. A game leak from November 1 claimed to know the names of all eight Gym Leaders, their Type, and the Pokémon they use in battle.
As of March 2020, Nintendo has not released a playable demo for either game on the eShop. However, Nintendo announced in early August that a playable demo would arrive prior to the games’ worldwide release on November 15, 2019. At this point it’s unlikely a demo will be released.
Unfortunately, neither game supports this backup feature. This means players will need to take precautions to save their game data. Nintendo currently has no plans to make the Save Data Cloud backup feature available for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
If you have the Poké Ball Plus accessory you will be able to transfer Mew to either Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield. In fact, every Poké Ball Plus comes with the Mythical Pokémon Mew. Worth noting, Mew can be transferred to a copy of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! as well. This is especially convenient for Trainers because Mew cannot be obtained during normal gameplay in any of the main series Pokémon games.
In addition, Pokémon HOME allows players to transfer both Mew and Mewtwo, among 33 other monsters, to Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
UPDATE: The Pokémon Company has announced paid DLC, which will include new and returning Legendary Pokémon.
No, there are no Legendary Pokémon available from previous versions of the main series Pokémon games. Instead, Pokémon Sword and Shield features three new Legendary beasts: Zacian, the mascot Legendary for Pokémon Sword, Zamazenta, the mascot Legendary for Pokémon Shield, and Eternatus, the colossal Poison- and Dragon-type Pokémon.
UPDATE: Future software updates will add past Starter Pokémon to the pair of games; however, it’s currently unknown which starters will become available.
At the present time, the only Starter Pokémon available from previous generations is Charmander. However, you will have to beat the game in order to get it. Other Starter Pokémon—Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio—have existing “foreign data” entries stored in the game files; this suggests they will likely be distributed via Mystery Gift event or make appearances during Max Raid Battles. And of course, they will be able to fully evolve in Pokémon Sword & Shield.
Approximately two weeks prior to the games’ release on November 3, multiple online leakers revealed that the Galar Pokédex contained a total of 400 entries. Further, they claimed the Galar Dex would add an additional 232 entries—bringing the total to 632. One particular leaker claimed the additional 232 Pokémon would become available only after players recorded the first 400 entries. This was quickly reported as false information.
These two terms can be confusing. To put it simply, a Dynamaxed Pokémon is a colossal form of itself, while a Gigantamaxed Pokémon is a colossal form of itself and takes on a different appearance. Unlike Dynamaxed Pokémon, Gigantamaxed Pokémon have stronger stats—both are quite powerful, nonetheless. All Pokémon can Dynamax, but not all Pokémon can Gigantamax; currently, only a select number of Pokémon are capable of Gigantamaxing.
Players can Dynamax their own Pokémon at any time during Gym battles and Max Raid Battles; however, during Max Raid Battles, players will take turns Dynamaxing their monsters. Further, a Dynamaxed Pokémon can only battle for three rounds before it shrinks back down to its normal size. Dynamax Pokémon use Max Moves, while Gigantamax Pokémon use G-Max Moves.
Finally, it’s worth noting that it’s not possible to catch a Pokémon capable of Dynamaxing or Gigantamaxing out in the wild. Instead, you’ll need to challenge—and try to catch—them during Max Raid Battles. Dynamax Pokémon are much more likely to appear in Pokémon Dens, but there are special Max Raid Battle events that give players a better chance of encountering Gigantamax Pokémon.