Fans eager to get their hands on Pokémon Sword and Shield still have a frustratingly long wait ahead of them until Generation 8 officially begins, but that hasn’t stopped publisher Nintendo from getting the hype train rolling early. One crucial detail that’s already been confirmed by it and developer Game Freak in its original Direct Presentation is the return of traditional trainer gyms for players to engage with. In past games, defeating every gym leader in any given region would be a necessary obstacle to overcome in order to reach the illustrious Elite Four and up until now, we’ve had no reason to question how rigidly Game Freak is planning to stick to that successful formula.
In a recent – now removed – post on Twitter (below), Nintendo of America presented a series of images depicting various in-game soccer stadiums as seen in the initial gameplay reveal. The running theory since then is that these sports venues will serve as Sword and Shield‘s version of gyms, one that, apparently, is bang on the money.
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“It appears in Pokemon Sword and Shield that gyms in the Galar region are now bigger than ever,” the post reads in reference to the aforementioned stadiums, before rhetorically asking what type of Gym Masters await within. In light of Nintendo’s choice words and its subsequent removal of the post, Pokéfans have put their heads together in an attempt to present an answer for why Game Freak has decided to give Sword and Shield‘s gym leaders a new title, with one such explanation pointing to a potential evolution of the Pokémon Masters feature as seen in Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu!
Ultimately, the name change could be as simple as Game Freak desiring a more accurate descriptor for the Galar region’s most talented Trainers, but this isn’t the first indication we have of potential changes to the core RPG series’ fundamental gameplay mechanics. Rumors abound currently that Pokémon Sword and Shield will feature a new evolutionary mechanic in the form of so-called Armored Pokémon, and you can see here for all the details.
Source: Comic Book