This is new. In lieu of a stopgap generation, Game Freak has announced the Expansion Pass for both Pokemon Sword and Shield. It’s a first for the Pokemon series, which also goes back on quite a lot of what the developer previously said about what’s possible with the current generation of games.
But first, let’s go over what’s new with the expansion pass. First, it introduces two new areas to the game. These are the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra. The former will be available in June 2020, while the latter comes later, in fall.
Producer Junichi Masuda implies that the expansion pass for Pokemon Sword and Shield will replace stopgap generations with new content like Black 2 and White 2 or Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. You can jump to the 3:40 mark in the video below to hear it for yourself.
On one hand, this means getting access to new content without having to restart your progress. But on the other, there’s no guarantee that we won’t still get a third title the way Emerald was for Ruby and Sapphire. Similarly, this doesn’t mean there will not be a generation 8.5 stopgap before the ninth generation comes around. And if anything, this may serve as a sign of what’s to come in future Pokemon games.
The expansion also brings with it over 200 returning Pokemon from previous generations into Sword and Shield. Included in this list are the other two first generation starters, as well as nearly every legendary in the series. This invalidates Masuda’s own argument from E3 back in June 2019 about not being able to bring back older Pokemon.
But for what it’s worth, those who choose to not get the expansion pass will still be getting a free title update that allows these previously forbidden Pokemon into Sword and Shield. This may be via trades with those that have the expansion, or via the Pokemon Home service, the sequel to Pokemon Bank which allows you to import all of your previous Pokemon to the current generation.
Pokemon Sword and Shield both have their own individual expansion passes. If you have both titles, then you’ll have to buy two different passes. These come at US$29.99 (~RM123) each, and are already available for pre-purchase. Pokemon Home, on the other hand, will be available in February.
(Source: Nintendo / YouTube)