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Like any proper Pokémon adventure, there are a host of new characters — from professors, to Gym leaders, to rivals and more — that you’ll be encountering during Pokémon Sword & Shield, and today’s Direct brought our first glimpse at many of them. Here’s a rundown:

First, we have our playable protagonists. We’ve seen them before, but now we have key art, and a look at some skin tone customization options.

Then there’s Leon, introduced as the heckin’ champion of Galar! He’s apparently quite popular due to his combined charisma and skill, and has never lost a Pokémon battle. He sports a very regal cape to boot.

Leon’s brother, Hop, is one of your rivals. You’re neighbors who set out on the same day, and he wants to be a champ just like his big bro.

The professor of the region is named Magnolia. She marks the first old woman professor in the series, and is studying Dynamax phenomena in the Galar region.

Her granddaughter, Sonia, helps her out with research, and is also childhood buds with Leon. She’ll provide tips and help throughout your adventure, and also is charged with a currently unknown mission by her grandmother.

Lastly, we have our first gym leader, Milo, a kindhearted, very jacked fellow who specializes in Grass-type Pokémon.

In addition to the cast, we see glimpses of many places throughout the Galar region, from cities to buildings to the vast stretches of wild in-between. The first Gym is confirmed to be a grassy stadium suited for Dynamax battles — it’s currently unclear if all Gyms will fall under a football stadium aesthetic, though we can at least imagine similarly gargantuan locales to have the massive ‘mons duke it out.

There are obviously some characters we’re in the dark about, like Elite Four members, remaining Gym Leaders, and whoever makes up the villainous team this time around. We’ll have to wait for future news for an update on those fronts.


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.