Pokémon Sword And Shield To Focus On Nintendo Switch Handheld Mode

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Pokémon Sword and Shield will bring a whole bunch of new creatures to the legendary franchise, which looks set to have a bonanza year across all forms of media. But one of the more interesting factors about this game is that it’s the first mainline Pokémon RPG to be released on Nintendo’s primary system rather than the GameBoy or DS handhelds.

Obviously, though, the Nintendo Switch can also be used as a handheld, so what could this emphasis on the console’s other mode mean for the game? Well, Shuntaro Furukawa, the current President of Nintendo, has just emphasized that the answer is… not much:

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon 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 Pokémon fans, but also by consumers whose first encounter with the series was on a dedicated video game platform with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

At first glance, that might not say a huge amount. However, if the game is specifically targeting the Switch’s handheld mode, that might have consequences for its performance and graphics. Those who own a Switch will know that the experience between playing through the dock and as a handheld is not exactly identical.

Games played in handheld mode often feature a variable dynamic resolution designed to decrease the stress on the Tegra processor, along with other features that limit performance in order to conserve battery life. If Pokémon Sword and Shield is targeting handheld mode as the intended experience, it could be an indication that Nintendo is prepared to cut down the graphics and complexity of the game in order to ensure it doesn’t hoover up too much power.

But I wouldn’t go writing off Sword and Shield just yet. The Switch has proved that while it’s far from the most powerful console on the market, a smart developer can get amazing results from it (that port of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a technical marvel). And in any event, the game is certain to be a huge leap above previous mainline RPG entries, which were limited by the GameBoy, DS, and 3DS hardware.

No word yet on an exact release date, but the smart money says Pokémon Sword and Shield will hit shelves before Christmas.

Source: EpicStream

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