This is not a drill! This is not a drill! We’re finally getting Pokémon Gen 8! When I saw that this morning’s Pokémon Direct was only 7 minutes long, I was pretty scared we were going to get something along the lines of the Pokémon Sun and Moon reveal — name, system, and date, nothing else. But Nintendo did us so much better this time.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are coming this year, and we’ve already got a region, gameplay, and even our new starters! That’s WAY more than I thought they could cram in 7 minutes. Sure, I was secretly hoping we would also get news of Pokémon Snap 2 (one day my dream will come true), but this was even better.

Let’s do a quick breakdown of what we saw and see if we can’t figure out a few things. First off, the region. Galar region, and the name Sword and Shield immediately call to mind European themes. But I think I can do one better. Looking at the architecture and the stylings, along with the island shape of Galar, I can guess with certainty we’re going to the UK! England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales here we come! The rolling fields and the European stylings bring to mind the English countryside, and then in one of the cities you can clearly see Big Ben — which is about as iconic London as you can get. Then there is this…

This looks like the Cerne Abbas Giant (I won’t show it here because it’s VERY naked and not really family friendly), which is located in England. I’m also going to wager a guess this is our first glimpse at one of the Legendaries we will be encountering. From the crests on sword and shield I’m guessing they will be wolf themed — but we’ll see, this is early speculation after all. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a dog legendary (and there is still some debate over legendary dogs vs. legendary cats).

One other juicy thing I noticed: Gyms are back! I liked that they tried something new in Pokémon Sun and Moon, it was a neat gimmick to make the games different, but honestly I missed gyms. It looks like they are making a comeback in Pokémon Sword and Shield, something I’m looking forward to!

And those starters! The chimp Grookey, the rabbit Scorbunny, and the lizard Sobble are all amazing! I wasn’t expecting them to reveal the starters this early, but here we are! This Direct was the gift that keeps on giving. There are so many good things that came out of that 7 minutes that I’ve already watched it three times to try to pull out clues.

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I, like many other Pokémon fans, am hoping — desperately hoping — we kick the Fire/Fighting curse and that Scorbunny goes Fire/Electric (did you notice the sparks?) or Fire/ANYTHING ELSE. When over half of the Fire starters are Fire/Fighting, it gets old. Is it too much to ask for some variety? Though that tape on Scorbunny’s nose looks a lot like something you might see on a fighter, so don’t get your hopes up yet.

I’m hoping that Grookey will go Grass/Fighting instead, which would hopefully stop Scorbunny from typing that way. This, while not 100% new, would be a combo we’ve only seen once before. Chesnaught was a great example of a Grass/Fighting, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it again (Chesnaught was a powerhouse). I don’t have any other good theories about Grookey yet, but I’m sure there will be more to go on once we see its second evolution.

This final speculation, I feel much more confident about — and I have to say, I think Sobble is my favorite already. Wanting just to hang back and relax while everyone else runs around is a pretty dang relatable mood. But its ability to turn invisible is what has me pretty confident in my type prediction. I’m calling it now, Sobble is going to be Water/Ghost. It is a typing we haven’t seen in a starter before, and would add something new and exciting to the lineup.

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Hopefully, we’ll have more information soon, but there are some neat possibilities for Pokémon coming out of the UK. Maybe a Metal type war horse, or a Dark/Ghost type black shuck (a black dog that is an ill omen). How about a Kelpie or a Corgi? There are so many great myths from the region that could be pulled from for this game. What if the Legendaries have nothing do with wolves and are instead based on Arthurian myth?! There are so many fantastic possibilities here that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around them. All I can say is I am back on the Pokémon hype train, and I don’t see it slowing down until the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield!

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Written by Chelsea Blackstone
Chelsea has been working with Gemr for over two years. She has lots of opinions on action figures and is not so secretly hoarding them. She also collects dragons, monsters, and kaiju in hopes of starting the Ultimate Monster Show-Down. In her free time, Chelsea is an avid gamer and giant nerd.