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Why Pokémon Sword & Shield Expansions Replaced A Third Game

Last month, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company released the Crown Tundra, the second post-launch expansion for Pokémon Sword & Shield. This marks the first time the franchise has leaned this heavily on post-launch content being added to a mainline game. Traditionally, the series has released the two simultaneous mainline entries (see: Pokémon Red & Blue or Pokémon Sun & Moon), followed by one or two standalone versions that represent an improved edition of the preceding games (see: Pokémon Yellow or Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon).

With Pokémon Sword & Shield, the first all-new mainline Pokémon RPG to hit consoles, Game Freak and the Pokémon Company released the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra expansions over the course of 2020. While this approach doesn’t give players the baked-in excuse to replay the most recent entry with myriad additions and streamlined elements added, it does provide players with various advantages. I asked the Pokémon Company if this approach takes the place of the traditional method of updating games through follow-up standalone titles. You can see the Pokémon Company’s response below.

There was an element of apprehension in moving to a downloadable model, but we were confident that players would enjoy exploring the new environments, uncovering new storylines, and meeting new human characters and Pokémon in both The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. With past titles, players generally had to collect and raise their Pokémon completely from scratch, so with a DLC we thought players would enjoy being able to use their favorite Pokémon right out of the gate.

With the Crown Tundra, players could venture into Pokémon Dens for Dynamax Adventures. Through this method, you can battle and catch Legendary Pokémon from the various regions that came before Galar. According to the Pokémon Company, this came from a desire in changing the way Legendary Pokémon are caught.

The idea for Dynamax Adventures started with the team wanting to introduce new elements to Max Raid Battles. We think Dynamax Adventures was the perfect way to achieve this. We wanted to change the way in which Legendary Pokémon are captured in our games. Some of the Legendary Pokémon that appear in Dynamax Adventures differ between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Only by joining up with players using a different version will you have a chance to catch them as well.

Unfortunately, the Pokémon Company would not comment on if there was more content planned for Pokémon Sword & Shield. Pokémon Sword & Shield released last November, while the Isle of Armor expansion released in June and the Crown Tundra expansion hit in October. To learn more about the making of Pokémon Sword & Shield, check out our massive behind-the-scenes cover story.

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