Editor’s Notes: After this story got posted to our website, we learned this was not the case. Pokemon Sword and Shield are not going to have 18 to 19 gyms in the game. Instead, the gyms are going to vary between the two titles making up a total of 18 to 19 gyms for the series. You can read an updated version of this story, here: Pokemon Sword and Shield Won’t have 18 Gyms
The newest Pokémon games will have 18 different gyms spread over a significant and minor league.
The Pokémon channels are buzzing with excitement. The latest Game Informer covered larger updates and changes to the game. From EXP Share, HMs, and optional autosaving, Pokémon Sword and Shield are set to make a big impact on the franchise.
Revealed in a Tweet by Serebii.net, Pokémon Sword and Shield will have 18 different Pokémon gyms, spread over two different leagues, major and minor.
Serebii Update: There will be 18 Gyms in Pokémon Sword and Shield, spread across a minor league and a major league https://t.co/oV6DIIA7Ub
— Serebii.net (@SerebiiNet) October 1, 2019
Until recently, Pokémon games focused on collecting eight badges from eight different gyms. In the previous games, Pokémon Sun and Moon, there was a minor change to the gym arrangement. Instead, trainers underwent the Island Challenge where Trial Captains would test their strength. The Trails involved the Totem Pokémon of the area, either in battle or some other format. After the initial test, players had to defeat the Island Kahuna in battle. This fight was roughly the same as facing a Gym Leader.
Pokémon Sun and Moon were the first to deviate from the standard eight gym format. Now Pokémon Sword and Shield are glad to overshadow their predecessors. There are still gyms, 18 of them. The gyms will get split between the minor and the major Pokémon Leagues. How they will get divided up is unknown. The new system is already promising, with the potential for longer, more in-depth gameplay and different strategies.
In a way, this mirrors Pokémon Crystal, Silver, and Gold and their remakes, Soul Silver and Heart Gold. The two regions, Kanto and Johto, were under the same Pokémon League, and after defeating the champion, players could travel to Kanto to face off against the eight Gym Leaders there. It made the game longer, if repetitive, but enjoyable. Perhaps the popularity of this system is why Pokémon Sword and Shield will have two leagues and over twice the number of Gym Leaders.