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Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, a Mystery Dungeon game and a brighter future for the franchise!
Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, showcasing the two main legendaries.
January is an important month for the Pokémon community, bringing us another Pokémon Direct from Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. The Direct serves as a platform to deliver updates and news for Pokémon properties, as well as addressing many of the concerns the community may have. Since June 11th, 2019, during the Nintendo Treehouse showcase at Nintendo’s E3 presentation, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Game Freak, has been facing a lot of backlash from the community due to a large amount of Pokémon not appearing in the new generation. With claims that it would be resource-heavy, would call for even more high-quality animations, and for the sake of game balance, it seemed unlikely that Game Freak and The Pokémon Company would introduce more Pokémon into the game.

However with the Pokémon Direct, we saw a step in the right direction that would hopefully quell the mob of angry fans, and the “Bring Back National Dex” movement. With an expansion pass that would add two DLC, Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, we would have two new areas to discover, that was stated to be bigger than the current games Wild Area, as well as the return of up to 200 Pokémon, along with a few new ones. Isle of Armor, the first DLC, takes place on an island off the coast of Galar. Players will be able to explore new areas, catch new Pokémon, wear new outfits, and it features a dojo where you’ll train under Mustard, Leon’s former mentor. Isle of Armor will also feature new legendaries, Kubfu, who evolves into Urshifu. A unique Pokémon with two forms, each with its Gigantamax form. You’ll also encounter a new rival depending on your version of the game. Klara, the Poison-type trainer for Sword or Avery the Psychic-type trainer. Isle of Armor is expected to launch in June 2020.

Kubfu, the legendary of Isle of Armor, and its evolved forms.
The Crown Tundra, the second DLC, is a giant wild area-like location and brings back many Pokémon from previous titles. Like Isle of Armor, The Crown Tundra introduces another legendary Pokémon to us. Calyrex, the psychic and grass-type Pokémon, was said to have ruled over Galar. There also appears to be a co-op element to the area, where players may enter and explore underground raid dens together. Many of the returning legendary Pokémon will also have Dynamax forms. The Crown Tundra is slated for release in Fall 2020.
Calyrex, the new legendary in The Crown Tundra, and a sneak peek at returning legendaries.
Longtime fan favorites are expected to return, with revealed concept art of Gigantamax Venusaur and Blastoise. The Sword and Shield starters are receiving Gigantamax forms of their own as well! We will also see Galarian forms of the legendary birds, which all look amazing.
Gigantamax Venusaur and Blastoise. Galarian Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos. Gigantamax Rillaboom, Cinderace and Inteleon.
Aside from new areas and Pokémon, the expansion pass will bring a significant amount of customization options for the player including outfits, hairstyles, and even more bike options. We will also see new tutor moves, the ability to craft Poké Balls with apricorns and the EXP charm which will make leveling up significantly easier. And yes...Inteleon has a gun.
Returning features and hundreds of new customization options.

Even if you do not own the Expansion Pass you will be able to receive the additional Pokémon through trades. 

In a free content update available now you will also be able to receive Galarian Slowpoke! Slowpoke evolves into Slowbro in Isle of Armor, or Slowking in The Crown Tundra. The Expansion Pass, which includes both DLC, is available for pre-order now for $29.99.

Along with the Pokémon Sword and Shield news, we also caught a glimpse at Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a remake of the Red and Blue Rescue Team games released on the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS. Unlike the originals, however, mega evolutions will be included in this game, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is expected to release on March 6th, 2020. The demo is available for download now, pre-purchase is also available for $59.99, and progress can be transferred over to the full version of the game.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX box and splash art.
Finally, we received news about Pokémon Home. The cloud-based storage system which will let you transfer Pokémon to Sword and Shield from the Pokémon Bank, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, is going to launch in February!
Pokémon Home, the new storage and transfer system, launching next month.

While the reveal of the Expansion Pass was met with a bit of criticism, and the belief that this was all cut content, I believe this to be good for the franchise overall where we stray away from the 3rd game entries half a year later. With the DLC approach as well I believe it will breathe even more variety into the competitive side of the game. Assuming the format adapts alongside expansion releases, it would introduce a significant number of Pokémon into the meta over time. Hopefully, everyone got something they wanted from this Direct!

You can watch the full Pokémon Direct on the official Nintendo Youtube channel below.

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