In the past, Pokémon has used embedded memory on the card to save the game, but with Pokémon Sword and Shield, it works differently, as it is stored directly on the Switch. If you want to start a new game, here’s what you need to do:
- On the Switch Home Screen, head to the System Settings, which is the Cog icon.
- Scroll down from the System Settings menu to the Data Management tab.
- On the options on the right-hand side, scroll to the bottom, where you should find Delete Save Data.
- Find and select Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield in your game list, and then select Delete Save Data for [Profile Name]
- A warning message will be displayed, asking if you’re sure you want to delete it and confirm once it allows you.
Be warned. As with previous games in the series, this is a permanent wipe, and all Pokémon on that save, regardless of their location (team or storage), will all be lost and unrecoverable. If you want to keep any Pokémon from one save to another, you will need to either transfer them to a friend for safekeeping, or consider using Pokémon Bank to store it, though the latter requires a subscription.
Additionally, if you received a Mew from the Poké Ball Plus feature and placed it on the game, you can’t get another one, so approach deletion with caution if you want to keep your Mew.
You can also play the game on a different profile of your Switch, as this will create a separate set of saving data to your main profile. However, if you do not have an online Nintendo account linked to it, you will not be able to use the game’s online features.