Fans have always wanted it, and it’s finally here. Multiplayer is being added to the Pokèmon franchise in Sword and Shield. Not just trainer battles like we’ve always had, but co-op battles more similar to raids from the Pokèmon GO mobile game. The full features of this new mechanic weren’t totally explored, but it’s clear that this will be a big shift for the franchise.
The key to co-op multiplayer is the new Dynamax system, where certain Pokèmon become massive and much more powerful. To take them on you will need to team up with other trainers from around the world. This is where the co-op multiplayer kicks in. Called “Max Raid Battles” a wild Dynamax Pokèmon will take on up to four players, one of which can empower their own creature with Dynamax.
If the team beats the powerful creature they can attempt to catch it. Weather will play a role, and there will be exclusive Pokèmon to catch through this feature. So it fits very well with the raid mechanics seen in GO. “Max Raid Battles feature strategic cooperative four player gameplay against a single Pokèmon, which is a first for the main series of Pokèmon games,” the Direct concluded. It may not be the co-op we all hope for, which would involve fully exploring the world with a friend by your side, like we have in Let’s Go, but it’s a start. And some of the presentation hinted that that may be a possibility.
It’s sort of what we got in Let’s Go, but that was a bit tacked on and not what fans were really hoping for. Simply adding another local player might fulfill the specific requirements of co-op multiplayer, but what would be even better is online and more tailored to the experience. We seem to be getting close to that with these Max Raid Battles, but we’ll see if it goes beyond that when Pokèmon Sword and Shield arrive on November 15th.