Pokemon fans have been speculating, even before Pokemon Sword and Shield was announced, whether the 2019 Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch will be open world.
Even after a Pokemon Sword and Shield reveal trailer, it still isn't clear whether the upcoming Pokemon game will in fact be in a open world format.
Pokemon fans were, and still are, hopeful that Pokemon Sword and Shield will be an open world game. If not, then certain parts of it could be open world.
The first Pokemon game to appear on the Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Let's Go, was expected to adopt the linear format of previous games. After all, it was clear from the outset that it would be a quasi-remake of the classic Pokemon Yellow game.
However, with the next generation hardware available in the form of the Nintendo Switch, there was more optimism that Sword and Shield would be the first truly open world Pokemon game.
While this could still be the case, the Pokemon Sword and Shield reveal trailer suggests it will be only partly open world at best.
The trailer appears to show inaccessible areas. These are highlighted by fences, mountains and designated pathways.
Furthermore, the lay out of routes and buildings make it look like your path through the game is predetermined.
However, in an interview with Game Informer, dating back to August 2017, the Pokemon development team seem to infer it will be an open world game.
When reading old forum comments, one said, "I REALLY want a console-scale Pokemon adventure." Junichi Masuda replied to this saying, "We're making it now."
Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori (Direct of Pokemon Sun and Moon) doubled-down with this sentiment, replying to similar posts stating they are making it.
Of course these developers might have a slightly varied definition of "open world". Nevertheless, their confident replies at least suggest the world be less fixed than ever before.
It will be interesting to see if Pokemon Sword and Shield is as expansive as Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Alternatively we could just see a slightly more accessible Pokemon world compared to previous games.