Gone are the days of having to buy a new updated version of each Pokémon game with every generation. Game Freak has now opted for a new expansion pass for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, announced in today’s Nintendo Pokémon Direct. The expansion pass introduces two new areas to be released, housing over 200 new Pokémon.
The Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion pass introduce two new areas – The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra.
The Isle of Amor is a new island region. Featuring beaches, caves, and forests, The Isle of Armor focuses on the theme of growth. Trainers can undertake an apprenticeship at the new dojo run by Mustard, an ex-champion and mentor of Champion Leon.
The Isle of Armor also includes a new legendary pokemon – the fighting-type Kubfu. Evolving into Urshifu, the new legendary has two different styles that change its type. Single Strike Style gives Urshifu fighting/dark-type, while Rapid Strike Style turns Urshifu into a fighting/water-type Pokémon. Urshifu also comes with a Gigantimax form.
Speaking of Gigantimax, Pokémon Sword and Shield’s starters are finally getting their own Gigantimax forms. Rillaboom, Cinderace, and Inteleon all now Dynamax into new forms, each with a new respective G-move.
We’re also treated to a new rival, differing depending on which version of Pokémon you own. Pokémon Sword players are graced with the adorable Klara, a poison-type user, while Pokémon Shield’s rival is the slightly eccentric physic-type user Avery.
You can meet your new rival with today’s software update by visiting Wedgehurst Station. You can also encounter the new Galarian Slowpoke. Slowpoke can evolve into either Slowbro or Slowking by using items you can eventually find in The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, respectively.
On the opposite end, The Crown Tundra is a frosty snowscape. The region focuses on the theme of exploration, with the story focusing on players leading an exploration team. New dens can be explored either solo or as part of a new co-op mode with other players.
Game Freak has also revealed that “you may see legendary Pokémon from past games Dynamaxing before your eyes” inside the dens. Co-op exploration also has the opportunity to fight and catch “some” of the past legendaries, according to the Pokémon Direct. The Direct also hinted at several new “legendary” Pokémon. The Crown Tundra also introduces its own story, legendary, psychic/grass-type Calyrex.
With The Crown Tundra’s release a little further away than The Isle of Armor’s, information is more sparse. Game Freak promised “more updates in the future.”
New Worlds to Explore
The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra are both seamless maps akin to the Wild Area. As such, max raid battles are also present across both areas. According to Game Freak, “there’s more to see and do than there was even in the Wild Area.”
Both expansions also include new hairstyles and clothing options. It looks like players will also be able to transform themselves into rival Marnie or Chairman Rose. You can also expect to see new customization options for the Rotom bike.
With 200 new Pokémon appearing across both areas, Pokémon Sword and Shield contain exclusive Pokémon, much like the base game, meaning players will need to trade to obtain all the new appearances. Don’t fret if you don’t want to buy the expansion pass, either. A new software update will ensure players without it will still be able to obtain the new Pokémon via link trade.
Lastly, it seems we’ve been treated to a sneak peek of Gigantimax Venusaur and Blastoise. They’ve been missing since Pokémon Sword and Shield’s release despite Gigantimax Charizard being in the game. While there’s been no information revealed about them, we’re sure to see more of them when the new expansion releases.
You can pre-purchase the expansion pass now for $29.99 USD/ £26.99. Part 1, The Isle of Amor, is set to release in June 2020. The Crown of Tundra will arrive in Fall 2020. Pre-purchasing the expansion pass gives players a new Eevee and Pikachu clothing set, which can be used straight away. You can watch the full Pokémon Direct below.
Are you excited for the new expansion pass? Or do you feel like these should have been included in the base game? Let us know in the comments below! Haven’t played the game yet? Read our review here!
Studying Games Journalism & PR in the UK. When she isn’t studying hard (AKA crying in the library), Mollie is probably splatting squids in Splatoon 2 or playing God in The Sims 4.