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'Pokémon Sword & Shield' Expansion Pass Not Required To Catch Returning Pokémon

'Pokémon Sword & Shield' Expansion Pass Not Required To Catch Returning Pokémon

Yesterday's Pokémon-themed Nintendo Direct contained some pretty exciting news for fans. The recently-released Sword/Shield will be getting a fairly hefty expansion this year. This paid DLC, Game Freak explains, will be in place of the usual "special edition" (yer Pokémon Yellows and yer Ultra Moons).

The expansion pass will be split into two parts. Part one, The Isle of Armor, is expected to arrive in June 2020. This will be fairly swiftly followed by part two, The Crown Tundra, which arrives in fall. Expect massive new areas to explore as you experience brand new story content. There'll also be new trainers to battle, clothes and accessories and to equip, and new legendary Pokémon to meet (and catch).

Check out the trailer for yourself below if you haven't seen it yet.

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New content to experience and new areas to explore are all well and good - but perhaps the most exciting part of the expansion for longtime fans of the franchise is that we can expect the return of tons of old Pokémon. No doubt we all remember the controversy of Game Freak cutting hundreds of old monsters from Sword/Shield? I've tried to forget, believe me.

The good news is that over 200 familiar monsters that "didn't appear in the Galar region" will be making their way back into the game over the course of the expansion. The likes of Slowpoke, Garchomp, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and the legendary birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres will all be returning to the game.

There are plenty more critters that have yet to be confirmed for the sake of surprising players, but I've personally got my fingers crossed for the safe return of my boy Dragonite.

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Once it was revealed that old monsters would be returning as part of the expansion, there were some predictable grumblings. Understandably, some players were alarmed and upset at the idea that Game Freak were indeed bringing back cut Pokémon - only to lock them behind a paid expansion.

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Pokémon Sword & Shield / Credit: Nintendo
Pokémon Sword & Shield / Credit: Nintendo
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Don't worry though! That's not actually the case at all. Nintendo has since clarified that even if you don't purchase the Sword/Shield expansion pass, you'll still be able to get your hands on the returning monsters "through other means."

"Free updates are also planned for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield to coincide with the release of these expansions," Nintendo wrote in a press release. "Updates are scheduled for the same days that The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra expansions are released."

"Each of these updates will enable players who haven't purchased an Expansion Pass to receive Pokémon that will be added via The Isle Of Armor and The Crown Tundra expansions through means such as trading."

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So there we go then. I imagine it'll be easy enough to get the critters you want via trading. There's also Pokémon Home, the upcoming service that will allow players to transfer Pokémon to Sword/Shield from Pokémon GO and Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee. Controversy avoided? I bloody hope so.

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo

Topics: pokemon, Game Freak, Nintendo

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Ewan Moore

Journalist at GAMINGbible who still quite hasn’t gotten out of my mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), I went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis.