During this morning's Pokemon Direct, Nintendo and Game Freak revealed Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will be getting an expansion pass with two major sets of DLC, and the game will see 200+ Pokemon (both new and old) join the Galar Pokedex.There's lots of confusion on the internet surrounding exactly how these Pokemon will be integrated into Sword and Shield, and if it's necessary to buy the expansion to obtain them – so let's dive in and detail how Pokemon's National Dex is inching closer to being complete once again.
How the Expansion Pass Addresses Dexit
A major point of contention between Pokemon fans centers on Pokemon Sword and Shield not containing a complete "National Pokedex," meaning the games shipped without every official Pokemon ever created (which is currently 890 in total, not including Alolan and Galarian variants). This perceived mass exodus of Pokemon from the Galar region's Pokedex was dubbed Dexit.Pokemon Sword and Shield launched with a combined 400 Pokemon for fans to catch, less than half of the National Dex, but with over 200 Pokemon coming via The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra expansions later this year (some are new, but seemingly most will be among those missing from the National Dex) Gen 8 seems to be taking a piecemeal route towards completing the National Dex once more.There are several fans across the internet that are upset these returning Pokemon will be stuck behind a paywall, but fear not! Game Freak assured fans that players who have the base Sword or Shield game will be able to obtain the new and returning Pokemon through trading with friends and/or using the upcoming Pokemon Home storage service. Since Pokemon Home can house Pokemon from Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, as well as Pokemon Go and more past games, it appears any of the returning Pokemon joining Galar's regional dex can be sent to Sword and Shield through the service.It's unclear if Game Freak intends to slowly bring the entire National Dex to Gen 8 through expansions like this, but it's clear this is one way the developers are addressing Dexit. Heck, even one Pokemon, Slowpoke, is already available as part of a free update that went live today in its new Galarian form. Perhaps it's a mix of free and paid DLC that will eventually complete the National Dex once more.
Fans Excited for Pokemon Expansions
Naturally, with there already being a decently large rift in the Pokemon community over Dexit and other aspects of Sword and Shield, not every fan was pleased with what Nintendo revealed this morning. However, there were lots of fans ecstatic over the DLC, particularly since it's not an expanded (largely identical) game in the vein of Pokemon Crystal or Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon.
Fans Raise Concerns Over Pokemon Paywalls
While Game Freak is being proactive about allowing those who don't buy the DLC still get its new and returning Pokemon, many fans have raised points about the National Dex still being incomplete, even after the new additions come to Galar. Additionally, some fans noted Nintendo Switch Online and Pokemon Home act as soft paywalls for those who don't purchase the Expansion Pass. While it's unknown how much Pokemon Home will cost, Nintendo confirmed during the Direct that it will be a paid service.
Pokemon Sword and Shield Guide, Review, More
While we're sure to get more information before The Isle of Armor is released this June, there's plenty of base game content in Sword and Shield to keep fans busy for some time. You can check out our full Pokemon Sword and Shield walkthrough, along with our Max Raid battle guide and tips and every NPC trade quest in the games.In our Pokemon Sword and Shield review, we called the games "Amazing" saying "Pokemon Sword and Shield are the best games in the series, streamlining its most tedious traditions without losing any of the charm."
Colin Stevens is IGN's video game social coordinator, and he's very excited there (hopefully) won't be a third Pokemon game in Gen 8. Follow him on Twitter.