'Pokémon Sword and Shield' DLC release date, new Gigantamax and Legendaries

Nintendo’s Thursday Pokémon Direct revealed a two-part expansion pack for Sword and Shield that launches later this year. A game update that went live immediately after the December 9 direct introduced a new regional Pokémon, along with some new characters that tease the adventure to come.

Expanding Sword and Shield with major DLC releases is a first for the franchise. Previously, Pokémon titles have received an entirely new version a year-or-so later — e.g. Black 2 and White 2 (2012) and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (2017). Now, fans won’t have to buy a whole new game if they want the latest Pokédex updates and more of the Galar region to explore.

The expansions are currently under development and game director Shigeru Ohmori explained that Game Freak is focusing on making these new chapters of Sword and Shield a seamless experience. “You’ll be able to set out on new adventures using the saved data you’re already playing with,” he said during Thursday’s announcement.

The Pokemon Company / Nintendo / Game Freak

Like the exclusive Pokémon and gyms in Sword and Shield, players of each game will have slightly different experiences depending on the version you have. Here’s everything we can expect to see in the expansion packs.

When are the release dates for thePokémon: Sword and Shield expansion passes?

Two new areas are coming to Sword and Shield: The Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra. Players who pre-order the expansion will gain access as soon as they’re released. The Isle of Armor will launch on June 2020 and the Crown Tundra shas a release widow of fall 2020.

How much will the Pokémon Sword: and Shield expansion passes cost?

The Sword: and Shield expansion pass is available now for $30 in the Nintendo Switch eShop. It’s a solid chunk of change, but it’s still $10 cheaper than the $40 price tag Game Freak slapped on Pokémon: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

The Pokemon Company / Nintendo / Game Freak

What will the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra be like?

Once they’re released, any players with the expansion pass will be able to access the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra, regardless of whether they’ve completed the main campaign or not.

The Isle of Armor is an island off the coast of the Galar region, where players will become apprentices of a Pokémon dojo master named Mustard. You’ll venture through sandy beaches, dense forests, and dark caves to catch Pokémon that aren’t available on Galar’s mainland.

The Crown Tundra is a mountainous, snow-swept area home to a roster of never-before-seen Pokémon, who can be caught by exploring frozen temples and the depths of Pokémon Dens.

What new characters are coming to Sword and Shield?

You’ll also be faced with a new rival in the Isle of Armor. Klara (in Sword) and Avery (in Shield) challenge you to Pokémon battles during your island adventure.

Klara, your Isle of Armor rival in 'Pokemon Sword*.The Pokemon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo

Klara specializes in Poison-type Pokémon and Avery has a team full of Psychic-types. Make sure you come prepared with some counter picks.

What new Pokémon and legendaries coming to Sword and Shield?

The only new, non-legendary Pokémon Game Freak revealed Thursday was Galarian Slowpoke that is now available to expansion pass buyers. But the DLC teaser teased seven new legendary Pokémon.

Urshifu can take two forms after it evolves from Kubfu.The Pokemon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo

Here’s a full list of all of the rare creatures that will be included in the expansion pass:

  • Kubfu
  • Urshifu (Can take two forms: Single-Strike Style or Rapid-Strike Style)
  • Two new Regi-types
  • Galarian Articuno
  • Galarian Zapdos
  • Galarian Moltres
  • Calyrex
Galarian ZaptosThe Pokemon Company / Nintendo / Game Freak

What new Gigantamax forms are coming to Sword and Shield?

The final evolutions of of all three Galar starters — Cinderace, Rillaboom, and Inteleon — will get Gigantamax forms. And that’s not all!

Gigantamax Inteleon is going to be looooong.The Pokemon Company / Nintendo / Game Freak

During the Direct, the Game Freak team revealed Blastoise and Venusaur will also get Gigantamax forms, so expect some of the other Pokémon added with the expansion pass to get their own bigger and badder forms.

Gigantamax Blastoise looks like it has a battleship for a shell.The Pokemon Company / Nintendo / Game Freak

What existing Pokémon are coming to Sword and Shield?

The expansion pass will also add 200 existing Pokémon that didn’t make it in the initial release of Sword and Shield, a move seemingly directed at diehard “Dexit” fans who were hugely upset Game Freak cut out some of the franchise’s most iconic characters.

The Pokemon Company / Game Freak / Nintendo

Here’s a list of the confirmed existing Pokémon that will be making a comeback to Sword and Shield, thanks to the expansion pass. Only final evolved forms are listed below, but their earlier forms will also be included:

  • Venusaur
  • Blastoise
  • Volcarona
  • Lycanroc
  • Regice
  • Registeel
  • Regirock
  • Aurorus
  • Sealeo
  • Garchomp
  • Kingdra
  • Dedenne
  • Nidorino
  • Chansey
  • Azurill
  • Elekid
  • Magnezone
  • Zorua
  • Beldum
  • Cryogonal
  • Crobat
  • Mewtwo
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Zekrom
  • Reshiram

The Pokémon: Sword and Shield expansion pass is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $30.

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