During E3 2017, Tsunekazu Ishihara announced that the next core series titles would be available on the Nintendo Switch, but they were not prepared to release any more information at the time. On May 30, 2018, The Pokémon Company gave a press conference and announced that the new core games would have more traditional gameplay, as opposed to that found in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!.
- Japanese release date (Friday) November 15th, 2019.
- North American release date (Friday) November 15th, 2019.
- Australia release date (Friday) November 15th, 2019.
- South Korean release date (Friday) November 15th, 2019.
- Chinese release date (Friday) November 15th, 2019.
- European release date (Friday) November 15th, 2019.
Sword and Shield take place in the Galar region, a large, narrow expanse of land and one of many regions in the Pokémon world. Shigeru Ohmori described it as more modern setting. The region itself and its many landmarks are inspired by Great Britain, such as the Houses of Parliament and the Cerne Abbas Giant. The region begins with sprawling countryside towns featuring cottages and Victorian architecture. An Industrial Revolution-like city with steampunk-style elements populates the center of the region. Many of the region's towns and cities feature Pokémon Gyms stylized like football stadiums. Snow-covered mountains encompass much of the northern areas of the region. Encompassing a large portion of the region is the Wild Area, an open world area with numerous Pokémon. Weather across the Wild Area changes regularly. Much like Pokémon Sun and Moon, Pokémon previously introduced in older games, such as Weezing, gain variant Galarian Forms with new typings and appearances. Additionally some, such as Linoone, even gain regional evolutions.
Development of Sword and Shield began immediately following the development of Pokémon Sun and Moon in 2016. This started with an initial concept phase that lasted for approximately a year before the games moved into full production.
The idea of strength and striving to be the greatest and strongest was one of the core themes that Game Freak used in designing the game. This is expressed through the Switch's status as the most powerful console to run a Pokémon game, features such as Dynamaxing, and references to British Folklore.
- Unlike other core Pokémon titles, not all existing Pokémon species will appear and be usable in Sword and Shield. Producer Junichi Masuda addressed this as a potential issue in a 2018 interview with GameSpot, at which point he said that "it does get complicated when you talk about the details and we're still figuring it out, but we do have plans to find ways to let players use their Pokémon in the next game."