"Pokemon battles are big entertainment in the Galar region," suggesting Game Freak are putting greater emphasis on battling and the final tournament itself in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
Much like previous Pokemon games, defeating gym leaders allows you to participate in the final tournament. Firstly though, there is the Gym Challenge - this is the process of defeating all eight gym leaders.
New gym leaders
Of course, the eight gym leaders are a staple of the Pokemon video game series, where defeating each of them is a key part of the story. Until today (July 8) we only knew of two of these gym leaders.
These were Milo and Nessa. Milo specializes in endurance matches using grass-types, while Nessa's speciality is water-types. Now, two more have been revealed - Bea and Allister.
Bea is an expert in karate, so it's no surprise she specializes in fighting-type Pokemon. Her stoicism is her best trait meaning she'll continue to the right things in battle even when it may be going wrong for her.
Allister is already gaining quite a rep, having been featured in Twitter's trending section shortly after his reveal. Described as shy and fearful, Allister spends his time around ruins and cemeteries. Yes, you guessed it, he is a ghost-type gym leader.
Version exclusive gym leaders
One major difference between Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield has also been revealed. Pokemon Sword is exclusive to Bea and Pokemon Shield, Allister - meaning you won't be able to battle both without playing both games.
Certain towns will have different Gyms that you can challenge depending on whether you’re playing Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield!
In Pokémon Sword, you’ll face Bea.
In Pokémon Shield, you can challenge Allister.#PokemonSwordShield pic.twitter.com/Stu6w5iS0E
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) July 8, 2019
Leon - the undefeated champion
However, to start taking on gym leaders you need an endorsement and this comes from no other than the undefeated champion of the Galar region himself - Leon. This is interesting considering you will end up competing against him. This looks to be Game Freak's attempt at making the story come full circle.
The next stage is the Champions Cup, a tournament held once a year which hosts the very best Pokemon trainers. One way to qualify for this is through the Gym Challenge but it is noteworthy that it is described as one way to qualify - suggesting there could be other routes.
Without explicitly stating as such, a battle with Leon is almost certainly the curtain call for the Pokemon Sword and Shield adventure, at least in terms of the main story. It goes without saying a battle with Leon will be incredibly difficult.
He is hyped as perhaps one of the greatest trainers to ever exist, even across all Pokemon games. "Leon won the Championship in his first-ever Gym Challenge—without being defeated in battle a single time," the official Pokemon Sword and Shield website states.
Even to this day his winning streak continues to get longer and longer, showing just how incredible of a trainer he is. "He’s aided in his countless victories by his partner Charizard, and he’s known to go all out during battles, no matter who he’s facing." He is revered by the people of Galar for his battling style which means he will likely be the fan-favorite when you eventually battle him.
The final battle will be teased during the game as the website suggests you'll be able to catch glimpses of his battles during broadcasts of his matches.
Who knows though, maybe your rival Hop will defeat Leon before you and that will be the final battle - only time will tell.