Pokémon Sword & Shield’s Galar region is about to get an awful lot bigger. Announced during a special Direct presentation today, Game Freak is releasing an expansion pass for the latest installment of its popular RPG franchise. This, according to the developer, is instead of a Yellow/Crystal-style special edition or Ultra Sun-style sequel. RIP Pokémon Gun, I guess.
The expansion pass will be split into two parts, The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. The first is scheduled for June 2020, with the second part expected to arrive “fall” 2020. As is tradition, there will be different Pokémon, characters, and slightly altered locations depending on which version of the game you’re playing.
Both parts of the expansion will of course feature new story content, new areas to explore, trainers to battle, clothes and accessories for your trainer to glam up in, and Pokémon to catch. The project is clearly still fairly on in development, so the reveal trailer instead offered a series of teases via snippets of concept art. Check it out for yourself below.
Based on what we were shown, it looks like roughly 200 existing Pokémon that were so controversially cut from the main game will be making their return, including Slowpoke, Seadra, Venusaur, and Blastoise. The latter two will also have brand new Gigantamax forms to use in battle, from the looks of it.
There’ll be new Galarian forms for a number of old monsters, too. The aforementioned Slowpoke has a cool new look (see below), while it looks like the original Legendary Birds – Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres – will all be returning with imposing new appearances.
The Isle of Armor (which really should be The Isle Of Armour given that the Galar is supposed to be the UK), is a large island off the coast of Galar. There are beaches and forests to explore, as you search for new monsters and become an apprentice at a dojo under a chap called Mustard.
Mustard, it seems, is the man who taught former champion Leon. Depending on which version of the game you own, your rival in this story will either be a poison trainer or psychic trainer. Both have ambitions of becoming gym leader someday. The Isle of Armor will also see the arrival of two new legendary Pokémon in the form of Kubfu and its evolution Urshifu.
The Crown Tundra, meanwhile, focuses on exploration. Less is known about the second part of the expansion at this stage, other than the fact you’ll be sent to a remote, frozen outpost to see what secrets wait there. It’ll come with a brand new legendary Pokémon, Calyrex, and a new co-op mode, in which players explore Pokémon dens with friends.
Both expansions will take place on “seamless” maps like the Wild Area from the main game. This means you’ll be able to explore and control the camera yourself while you search for new secrets and monsters. The good news is that Game Freak has promised these new locations will be bigger, and will offer “more to do” than the Wild Area did.
I’m certainly never one to turn my nose up at the opportunity to play more Pokémon. I’m especially keen on the idea of getting a Yellow/Crystal-style new adventure while being able to keep my progress and team from the end of Sword & Shield’s main game.