With Pokemon being completely absent from Nintendo’s E3 2021 Direct, many fans have been left wondering what is next for the popular Game Freak franchise. Here are several reasons that the series could return to the Galar region with Sword & Shield 2.
While the Sinnoh remakes – Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl – had been expected for years, Game Freak threw fans for a loop when they revealed the Gen IV titles were actually being developed by a completely different studio altogether in a first for the franchise.
In a surprising move, the Japanese company instead announced that their next project would be Pokemon Legends: Arceus – a Breath of the Wild-inspired open-world adventure game. So where does that leave Gen 9? Below we will break down why we could get Sword & Shield 2 soon.
Five reasons we could get a Sword & Shield sequel
#5. Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Every Gen going back to 2010 has had a consistent four-year cycle. Sword & Shield releasing in November 2019 means that Gen 9 should debut at the end of 2022. The only problem is, Legends: Arceus has thrown decades of history out the window with Game Freak’s next major project releasing on January 22, 2022.
While Game Freak has multiple teams, it’s hard to believe they can make both a massively open-world title as well as a full-blown Generation 9 release just seven months apart within the same year. However, a Sword & Shield sequel could be created with a quicker turn-around time.
Re-using Galar’s map and engine, it would be much easier to craft a new story and characters. Assuming the next generation isn’t pushed back to 2023, a part two to Gen VIII would make sense, especially if they are making it alongside Legends: Arceus.
#4. The Competitive meta
Pokemon’s current online competitive scene is tied up in Sword & Shield and its Gen 8 engine. Assuming Legends is the only release in 2022 and Gen 9 is 2023, that is almost five years between releases.
This would be the longest the competitive meta would be dormant. The Sinnoh remakes have already been confirmed to not have online ranked battles, and with ILCA using a custom engine, it wouldn’t make sense to shift the game’s scene to BDSP.
A perfect solution would be Sword & Shield 2 in Fall 2022, or perhaps another expansion to bridge the gap between Gen 8 and 9.
#3. Galar’s map & lore deserve more
Before its release, fans were critical of The Pokemon Company’s decision to scrap the National Pokedex in Sword & Shield. While Gen VIII eventually added in most of the series ‘mon with its DLC expansions, many still found the base game to be lacking.
As much love as the Galar region gets, it’s hard to look past just how linear most of the map is. Sure, the Wild Area’s open-world sections help keep things fresh, but the overall map felt like it needed more locations.
The same is true for the game’s writing as well. The Darkest Day is such an interesting concept, but the plotline fizzles out with Chairman Rose’s poorly explained motives. There is just so much more left for the story that a sequel could properly expand on.
#2. Max Raids are being wasted
Without a doubt, one of Sword & Shield’s most popular features is Max Raid dens. The online mode has kept players engaged months after the RPG’s 2019 release. Sadly, the feature is probably not going to be in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl or Legends: Arceus.
The incredibly fun co-op battles could easily have new Pokemon rotated in and out such as how Pokemon Go handles raids. They could even include rare Legendary ‘mon appearances for special events.
Just like the competitive meta, it would be shocking to see them leave Max Raids to rot by the side of the road. Assuming Gen 9 is in 2023, that, again, would be close to five years that the popular mode would see no action – and that would just be criminal.
#1. Sword & Shield sold insanely well
While some may have issues with Gen 8 not being the massive jump in quality many expected (the National Dex being scrapped was a major controversy at launch), it’s easy to forget just how popular Sword & Shield actually is.
With over 20 million copies sold as of 2021, Sword & Shield is now the third highest-grossing entry in the entire franchise. Financially it just makes sense to not move on so quickly from the Galar region, which has been a major hit with mainstream audiences.
Let’s not forget, many fans today believe 2012’s Black and White 2 to be one of the series’ best. A Sword & Shield sequel could fix all the problems fans had with the base game and greatly flesh out its region and story.