The Pokémon Company Clarifies: There Are Not 18 Gyms in Sword and Shield

The Initial Interview

Pokémon has had a simple structure for its main story since its inception. You challenge the eight gyms in the region, collect eight badges, and defeat the Pokémon League to become the champion. However, this formula seemed to have been broken when director Shigeru Ohmori revealed in an interview with Game Informer that there would be 18 gyms in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Ohmori’s complete quote reads as follows.

From an actual gameplay and experience perspective, there will be certain gym leaders that will be different depending on which version you’ve played. In terms of the setting itself, the background to the story is there’s like this Japanese-style J-1 and J-2, like minor league and major league kind of concept. There are 18 different types of gyms in the story, and depending on the version, which gyms are in the minor league and which gyms are in the major league are different. For example, in Sword, the fighting-type gym will be in the major league, but in Shield, the ghost type. The idea is that every year, the Galar region is playing and which gyms make it into the minor league versus the major league changes. Of course, as always, there’s a difference in the kinds of Pokémon you can encounter.

Image result for pokemon sword and shield gym leaders
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The Response

Of course, the interview caused the internet went wild with various news sites reporting on the gym shake-up. Specifically, many believed the statement indicated that both Sword and Shield would contain 18 gyms which players can compete against. The Pokémon Company International has since reached out to Game Informer to clarify any confusion regarding gyms in the games. The official statement provided can be seen below.

In the Galar region, Pokémon Gym Battles are popular sporting events, and the 18 different types of Gyms that exist in Galar contribute to the background setting of the story in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. In each game, Trainers must collect eight Gym Badges to complete the Gym Challenge and earn the opportunity to participate in the Champion Cup.

Over the course of the main story, Trainers will challenge eight Gyms, which are all in the Major League. Which Gyms appear in the Major League and Minor League will differ between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. For example, depending on the version of the game, Trainers will be able to challenge different Gym Leaders, such as Bea or Allister.

Each version will have eight Gyms and eight Gym Leaders that Trainers can battle for a traditional Gym Challenge experience that fans have enjoyed throughout the Pokémon video game series.

What do you think of the amount of gyms in Pokémon Sword and Shield? Do you think there should be more? Let us know in the comments below! For more news updates, check out our articles on Mario Kart Tour breaking the day one download record and how the Nintendo Switch Lite looks one week in. Otherwise, keep it on Culture of Gaming for all things gaming!

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Oscar Navarro

Oscar is a writer for Culture of Gaming. He is an aspiring video game journalist that follows anything and everything Nintendo. His favorite franchises consist of Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts.

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