The popular Pokemon franchise has entered the eighth generation this year and continues to be a cash cow for Nintendo 23 years later. Even after all these years later, Game Freak continues to create interesting locations for players to visit, typically taking inspiration from real world areas for each of the mainline games. For example, the fictional region of Alola seen in Pokemon Sun and Moon is typically associated with Hawaii, Black and White's Unova region and more specifically Castelia City is a metropolis that is based on New York City.
This year's Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield takes players to the Galar region, home to rolling green hills and modern cities that appear to be located in a location like Great Britain and the United Kingdom. In fact, both games feature a ton of references and hints that the UK is the basis for Galar. Here's every Easter egg and reference that highlights the Galar region being Pokemon version of Great Britain.
The easiest thing to spot is that Galar features the rolling green hills that are prominently seen from the English and Irish countrysides. There's also a ton of small villages to visit with ivy crawling up the sides of Victorian style homes, flower gardens, and more. Contrasting that is the large industrial looking city in the middle of the map which has large, steampunk style buildings as well as a huge clocktower that could be mistaken for Big Ben. The city also has red postboxes dotted around the streets that look like they were pulled straight out of London.
The UK is typically associated with football (aka Soccer) and that's likely why the gym battles in Pokemon Sword and Shield have also been updated to take place inside of massive stadiums in front of tons of cheering fans.
If that wasn't enough, even the Galar region map is displayed as long and thin that is reminiscent of the actual appearance of the British Isles.
Customization is a big part of the new Pokemon experience, though in most of the marketing materials and promotional items, the lead characters are typically shown in knitwear, an iconic fashion design that's closely associated with Great Britain. Naturally, the weather can get a bit cold and rainy at times, making the warm knitwear a great choice.
In addition to the massive stadiums where gym battles take place now, the Gym Leaders themselves appear to have a specific uniform they wear unlike past games. Part of their designs and uniforms appear to be an athletic jersey with symbols and language which could be interpreted as advertisements. This closely resembles actual jerseys that soccer teams wear, usually sporting logos and ads for companies and sponsors to generate revenue.
Team Yell and their leader Marnie also come off as sort of Soccer hooligans/punk rockers. They're wearing face paint, love being loud and unruly, and many hold noise making instruments or banners of their fearless leader. Of course, England is no stranger to rock bands as the country spawned some major ones like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Joy Division, and The Smiths.
For those who have played the game, some of the ways NPCs speak may sound a bit familiar. The dialect and terminology leans heavily towards Great Britain including telly (for telephone), the main character's 'mum' (instead of Mom or Mother), and 'little chap' to name a few. One phrase in particular describes someone as 'being pants with directions' which would indicate that the person isn't great with directions. Overall, the games tend to steer clear of offensive slang as expected and keeps things fairly light.
Believe it or not, curry is a popular dish in the United Kingdom. In fact, it's so popular that the UK actually devotes an entire week in October to celebrate National Curry Week. It should be of little surprise then that the dish plays a big role in the game when players camp. In addition to spending time with their Pokemon and interacting with them, players can cook different types of curry with some that actually carry benefits like increased XP gains, removing status effects, restoring HP, and more. There's over 100 recipes in the game for players to discover as well as a ton of possible ingredients like berries, sausage, and many others.
Pokemon Sword and Shield also feature a ton of new pocket monsters that clearly reference the British way of life and culture. Yamper, the electric corgi, is the type of dog favored by Queen Elizabeth II, while Alcremie has the look of the popular British desert, the trifle. The new ghost-type Pokemon Polteageist is a monster that lives inside a teacup, a drink most commonly associated with British society. Farms and agriculture make up a good portion of the English countryside and in this Pokemon region, the sheep Wooloo would likely be a valuable asset to farmers.
Even the Galarian forms of traditional Pokemon have an English flair to them. Take Weezing for example. In its Galarian form, Weezing takes on a more Industrial Revolution style appearance with its large smokestack top hat and gaseous facial hair. Galarian Ponyta is now a psychic type Pokemon and looks more like a unicorn than its more traditional fiery self. This is relevant because Scotland's national animal is the Unicorn.
In fact, both cover Pokemon, Zamazenta and Zacian, are holding two items that are traditionally utilized by Medieval Knights, the sword and shield. Due to this, it can be seen as a reference to the ancient weaponry as well as British medieval history and myths like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Going a step further, the legendary Pokemon also feature a heavy dose of red, blue, and white, the three primary colors of the Union Jack flag for the United Kingdom.
Speaking of knights, Farfetch'd new evolutionary form, Sirfetch'd also comes with gear typically associated with the classic knight. Instead of a sword, Sirfetch'd comes with a lance formed from his iconic leek as well as what appears to be a leaf shield.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.