Approval of God: The Galarian forms of Zigzagoon, Linoone, and the Galarian-exclusive evolution Obstagoon bear more than a striking resemblance to and are clearly inspired by KISS's black and white makeup and leather-clad metal armor. Band frontman Gene Simmons, who is notorious for taking legal action against parodies and rip-offs of the band's likeness, is a fan of the series and is actually cool with the designs.
Ascended Fanon: The common fan theory of gym leaders have multiple teams that are level scaled to the challenger is used as the gym leaders faced in the Champion Cup and rematches have different teams at different levels.
Blooper: Eagle-eyed players noticed a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance of a mouse cursor during the end credits, as the camera pans behind the drumming Rillaboom. Similar instances of this were later found in other cutscenes as well.
One 4chan post on May 23 leaked various elements of the games before their official reveal, managing to accurately predict many new mons, the new gimmick, Galar variants, and many new characters before their respective reveals.
Over the weekend of November 1st-3rd, just under two weeks before the game's release, screenshots both from the game and the strategy guide began flooding the internet, revealing basically the game's entire roster of Pokémon, both new and old. The scale of these leaks as well as the increased scrutiny towards Sword and Shield that followed caused Nintendo to launch a full-blown investigation into the leaks, eventually tracing them to an employee for the Portuguese Nintendo fansite FNintendo, who had leaked the content from their review copy of the game. As a result, Nintendo permanently cut ties with the website, and the leaker was fired from their job.
On November 11th, just four days before the official release, physical copies of the game began finding their way into players' hands, as while the digital download of the game was locked behind a key that wouldn't be generated until the release date, the physical copies had no such restrictions, leading to spoilers going all out.
The first DLC, the Isle of Armor, released on June 17th. Soon afterwards dataminers discovered that Gamefreak had completely failed to scrub data regarding the second DLC, the Crown Tundra, from the Isle of Armor's patch, revealing the existence of, among other things, the then-unannounced Glastrier and Spectrier.
Together, the games have garnered the nickname "Pokémon Swish", which is created by taking the first two letters of both games' names and putting a vowel between them. Helps that it sounds like Pokémon Switch and that it makes a fun swishing sound.
In Japan, fans have taken to collectively shortening the games' titles in kanji as "KenTate/剣盾".
Following the trend of naming the protagonists after the games, people felt iffy on the idea of literally calling the boy and girl "Sword" and "Shield" respectively, and took to finding more traditional names that sounded similar. "Sora" and "Sheila" started making the rounds, the former especially funny considering it's the same name as another young male video game protagonist who wields a sword himself. Their official names are Victor and Gloria.
Fans have taken to calling the reduction of the National Pokédex "Dexit", a play on "Brexit", referring to the Galar region's British inspiration.
As a parallel to ASSOC (Association Football), the Pokémon League in this game, as well as the competitive battling scene, has taken the name of ASSOBA, for Associated (Pokémon) Battling.
Galarian Weezing has been nicknamed Doug Dimmadome, because its sludge mustache and smoke stack top hats bare a resemblance to him.
Galarian Ponyta is nicknamed Twilight Sparkle due to being a Psychic-type unicorn. Some people have also called it Amalthea, after the human form taken by the titular character in The Last Unicorn.
Gigantamax Meowth is nicknamed Longcat thanks to its really long body and holding its arms out like Longcat.
Gigantamax Pikachu resembles its early-gen sprites, before it was slimmed down, earning it the nicknames "Chonkachu," "Pikachub," and "Pikachonk".
Hop gets called "Galarian Hau", "Discount Hau", or "Hau 2: Electric Boogaloo" for being seen as very similar to Hau.
Rillaboom is constantly called some variation on "Donkey Kong" or occasionally a pun on "Dong" from the latter ape's own series. The stump drum he wields is occasionally called the Coconut Drum and jokes are made about the accompanying baggage that comes with it.
Max Mushrooms are occasionally called "Mega Mushrooms" due to being fungi that allow the consumer to grow giant in some way (in this case, it allows a Pokémon with a Gigantamax form to unlock or disable that Gigantamax form.)
Zacian is often called "Sif" due to it resembling the boss Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls 1, which is also a large wolf with a sword in its mouth.
Competitive players have dubbed The Crown Tundra expansion "Clown Tundra" due to the immense Power Creep that its release brought to the metagame.
God Never Said That: Following game journalists revealing that the levels of the Isle of Armor's opponents would scale in accordance to the player's progress through the game, someone posted on Twitter that she had asked a Nintendo rep about whether or not the scenario would scale to meet level 100 Pokémon and was told that they would. Come the release of the DLC, and it's discovered that level scaling is in no way tied to the levels of the Pokémon in the player's party and is capped at ranges between 55 and 75 for anyone who has become Champion.
Many fans correctly guessed that the Gen 8 games would take place in a Britain-esque region.
Many fans also correctly guessed that the Fire-type starter would be a rabbit, thanks to the theory that all Fire-type starters are based on the Chinese Zodiac.
Many guessed that, judging by the logos, the legendaries would be wolves.
After a new Pokémon was teased by a glitched entry apparently caused by a Rotom invading the site, many guessed from the bugged image via rotating it 90 degrees to the right that the new Pokémon would be a Galarian form or even an evolution for Farfetch'd due to the leek-colored weapon visible, as well as its name: Sirfetch'd. note It should be noted, however, that the name Sirfetch'd appeared in a widely believed leak.
Pretty much the minute he was revealed, fans guessed that Chairman Rose was going to be the main villain in the same vein as Lysandre and Lusamine before him. Fans also guess that Pheony is also Chairman Rose's brother in the same vein as Lillie. They were right.
Fans guessed that the spiky-headed statues near Hulbury's lighthouse are based on a new Pokémon, which had yet to be revealed. The Pokémon in question turned out to be Toxtricity.
Datamining revealed that although several moves were removed from the game for this generation, moves exclusive to previous Legendaries were suspiciously still present despite the Legendaries that would know them being absent. Come the Expansion Pass announcement, where The Crown Tundra would herald the return of all Legendaries similar to the Ultra Space Wilds in the last generation.
With Darkest Lariat; Incineroar's former Signature Move being learnable via TR, some players guessed that Incineroar would return later. With Pokémon Home, Incineroar and several other starter trios can be legally brought to this Generation.
During previews, a recurring fictional brand has a logo of what appears to be a large dog with a lightning bolt streaming off of it. Many players guessed that this was based off an evolution of the Electric-type corgi Yamper. This was later confirmed with its evolution Boltund.
In the leadup to the games' reveal, Armored Evolution was a huge contender for the new generation's gimmick, with Mewtwo and Charizard being common choices to get it. However, the gimmick would end up being Dynamaxing/Gigantamaxing.
With Galarian Ponyta already gaining a horn that Kantonian Ponyta lacked, people thought that Galarian Rapidash would gain wings. No such luck.
A few days before the launch, there were rumors of a Shield exclusive Poison-type Gym Leader named Sopp. This turned out to be partially false; there is no Poison-type Gym Leader in the main game, version exclusive or otherwise. However, the Isle of Armor introduced Klara, the Poison-type gym leader in the current season's minor leagues, and as such wasn't seen in the game proper; she was also exclusive to Sword rather than Shield as the rumors said.
Some fans took the announced description of the Galar League and the promise of two version-exclusive Gym Leaders per game as a sign there would be 18 Gyms total in the game, one for each type, of which some would be more prestigious than others. This turned out to rise from a mistranslation - In-Universe there are 18 gyms, but they are split into a 'major league' of the 8 Gyms which the player faces, and a 'minor league' consisting of the remaining ten that remain unfought.
Before the games' release, there was speculation as to what the starters' final forms' secondary types would be. All guesses turned out to be wrong, as all three starters remain single-type Pokémon, as previously seen in Pokémon Gold and Silver.
Japanese fans got to decide their local name of Steel Beam a Steel-type move that does massive special damage but halves the user's HP via CoroCoro Magazine's May 2019 issue. This is similar to Draco Meteor years ago.
A t-shirt design contest by UNIQLO promised that all winning shirts would be officially produced and available in stores, in addition to the grand winner getting their t-shirt in the game. While that t-shirt was disqualified for being sold elsewhere beforehand, and another shortly after once it came to light that it was using stolen fanart, the rest were still made, and arrived in stores late June.
Pop Culture Urban Legends: Shortly following the games' release, alleged screenshots from Pokémon Masters spread around where Iris states that Leon is her cousin and Blue states he isn't allowed to bring his Pidgeot to the Galar region due to its strict limitations on which Pokémon can enter the region. Both of these screenshots ended up being fake.
Refitted for Sequel: Farfetch'd was originally planned to receive a new evolution during the development of Pokémon Gold and Silver, which ended up being scrapped among several other beta Pokémon. Although Sirfetch'd is a mostly new design, it does take a couple beats off of the original design, such as sporting a lighter color scheme than Farfetch'd and now holding its leek in its feathers to use as a weapon.
Trolling Creator: Throughout pre-release marketing of Pokémon Sword & Shield, Game Freak made a point to show Impidimp but not officially reveal it. They even exploited the trope for the 24-hour livestream on October 4th, 2019, where Impidimp walked towards the camera, obscuring a good look at Galarian Ponyta in the process. Come the following Wednesday, only Galarian Ponyta was officially revealed, but still not Impidimp.
The grand winner of UNIQLO's t-shirt design contest, a Magikarp and Gyarados pattern, was going to be put in the game, with there even being edited screenshots to show what it would look like. However, the winner got disqualified when the pattern was discovered to be commercially available elsewhere, and a replacement design wasn't picked despite the other entries following the rules, meaning no real shirt in the game.
Peonia from the Crown Tundra DLC is never fought in the game, but datamining revealed that she has a complete battle entry animaton in the files, implying she could be battled at some point in development and it was possibly cut late.
Beta version of the game shows the following:
The camera was supposed to be controlable everywhere in the world. In the final product it's mostly set, except for the wild area.
UI elements imply that Rotom Dex was planned to return. Instead, it got turned into Rotom Phone. There is also a graphic that shows a "female" version of the Rotom Dex in the files. The "female" version would later remodeled as Rotomi as Gloria can be seen with the regular Rotom Dex.
Route 7 originally featured a statue or a carving of a Pokémon on one side of the bridge. In the final version you can see a bare cliff.
Mega Evolution and at least Greninja, Furfrou, and Bruxish were originally programmed for the game.
The cutscene that introduces the Gym Leaders was originally meant to have an additional scene that focuses on the protagonist and their three rivals approaching the Gym Leaders and staring them down, mirroring the artwork of Victor staring down Milo.
There's an unused item called "band autograph" in the files, with the descrition stating that it's the autograph of the members of the all-Pokémon band called "The Maximisers" who play after you win the Galar Elite Tournament. It was likely a part of a cut sidequest.
It seems like Sonia, professor Magnolia, Chairman Rose (in his casual outfit), Cara Liss (the scientist responsible for reviving the fossils), and Ball Guy were supposed to be fought at some point, since there are unused trainer classes in the game that relate to them. Sonia and Magnolia were possibly supposed to be fought multiple times during the story, since there are trainer classes associated with them with and without their labcoats.
These are the first games to use an official Japanese version of the famous blue-and-yellow international logo of the franchise. Here's a comparison of the game's Japanese and English logos for proof, and here's◊ the new Japanese logo by itself.
These are the first main series games in the franchise to not feature an Electric-type Gym, with Galar being the second overall region to lack one (the other being Johto).
Galar is also the first region to feature a Dark-type Gym.
Galar is the first region with no Elite Four or Victory Road. While you still fight four powerful trainers (specifically Bede, Nessa, Bea/Allister and Raihan) before tackling the Champion, it's done in a single-elimination knockout tournament setup akin to the anime.