A few days ago, a story from Game Informer included information that suggested a record number of 18 gyms would be present in Pokemon Sword and Shield. However, it turns out that a translation issue led to a mistaken assumption. While the Galar Region does have both major and minor gyms, like the J1 and J2 Leagues for soccer in Japan, people won’t actually be experiencing each gym in their respective games. Instead, each game will have eight major gyms to beat, as usual.
This was clarified in a follow-up story from Game Informer that included the original quote from Pokemon Sword and Shield Director Shigeru Ohmori and an update from The Pokemon Company. The idea is that there are major and minor leagues to help set up the lore of the game, and that each game will have some different gyms. For example, Pokemon Sword has a fighting-type gym with Bea as the leader, while Pokemon Shield has Allister leading a ghost-type gym.
Here is the official explanation Ohmori originally gave to Game Informer.
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.
Here was The Pokemon Company’s statement explaining that there are eight gyms in each version of Pokemon Sword and Shield, even though the Galar Region in general is known for having 18 types of gyms.
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.
Pokemon Sword and Shield will come to the Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.