The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra mark a new era for the Pokémon series. Traditionally, the games do not receive extras to be added on to a core game. Instead, that content is supplied in an entry that synthesises previous games, like Pokémon Emerald Version that contains Pokémon from Ruby, Sapphire, Gold, and Silver. Pokémon Sword & Shield is getting two expansions that take players to new areas, introduce new Legendaries, and bring back lots of the legacy Pokémon. The move to cut down the Pokédex for Generation 8 had been criticised heavily by a portion of Pokémon fans, but the developer maintained that this was the correct course for a game on a new platform.
“We need to be able to prioritise new gameplay ideas,” said Masuda in 2019. “We need to be able to find a way to balance the right number of Pokémon and also still introduce new ways for players to enjoy the game, new gameplay ideas to keep the series fresh and enjoyable far into the future.” Game Freak had stated that it had no intention to add Pokémon into Sword & Shield, but The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra are confirmed to reintroduce critters like Chansey, the Nidoran family, and the Sinnoh Legendaries. These Pokémon are not locked behind the DLC because there will be free updates that sync all players’ games up with the release of the expansions. As such, players who don’t purchase the DLC are able to get the new and returning Pokémon through trading.
However, Game Freak is still receiving negativity from fans who consider the developer to be fleecing players for the Pokémon they wanted in Sword & Shield through paid DLC. One fan aired their grievances toward producer Junichi Masuda, who replied, “It’s a public holiday today and it’s my birthday, can you let me relax?”
Pokémon Sword & Shield is out now for Nintendo Switch.