Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass is in development, no ‘Ultra’ versions coming

The Pokemon Direct had some great news for Pokemon Sword and Shield fans: a Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass is on the way.

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Rather than do “Ultra” versions of Pokemon Sword and Shield, players will be able to enjoy new adventures with the save data that they’re currently playing. These will genuinely be “expansions” added to the Nintendo Switch version of the game rather than a whole new cartridge that you’ll have to start over with.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass art

Development of the Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass is currently underway, but we got to see some concept art that gave us some hints for what we can look forward to. Key to this Expansion Pass are all the things you’d expect: new enemies, new Pokemon, and new clothes. There will also be new locations that players can head to: the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra.

There will be two distinct versions of the Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass: one for Pokemon Sword and one for Pokemon Shield. As expected, each version will have different Pokemon, but you’ll also meet different people when comparing the two versions as well.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass | Part 1: The Isle of Armor

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass Klara Avery

The Isle of Armor is the first part of the Expansion Pass and will be available sometime in June 2020. It focuses on the theme of “growth”, a giant island that’s not too far away from the Galar region. It will have “beaches, bogs, forests, caves, and dunes”. A dojo for Pokemon battles will let you take up an apprenticeship under Mustard, a former champion who trained Leon and will also mentor you.

Part 1 also will have a rival at the dojo, and this highlights one of the differences between the Sword and Shield versions of the game. Sword players will be training with Poison-type user Klara and Shield players will train with Avery, a Psychic-type user.

Players of Part 1 can also look forward to the following:

  • Tutor Moves – Including all-new moves!
  • Apricorns – Can be made into Poké Balls
  • Exp. Charm 0 Earn more Exp. Points for your team
  • New Legendary Pokemon
  • New fashion items
  • New looks for your bike

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass | Part 2: The Crown Tundra

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass Crown Tundra temple

Sometime in the Fall of 2020, the Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass will be followed by Part 2 featuring another new location: the Crown Tundra. This will be a much colder region featuring a lot of snow, massive mountains, and small communities of people.

The key theme of the Crown Tundra will be “exploration”. There will be strange temples, giant trees, and other oddities in this mysterious new land. A “certain person” will appoint you as the leader of an exploration team in the Crown Tundra. You’ll gear up with some sweet new cold-weather gear.

One of the other highlights of the Crown Tundra was only subtly mentioned: you’ll actually be able to head “deep inside” Pokemon Dens, something that you’ve only really been able to see from the outside in the current version of Pokemon Sword and Shield — and you won’t have to do it alone.

The Crown Tundra will feature a new co-op game mode that will allow you and your friends to explore Pokemon Dens underneath the Crown Tundra. You’ll find “all kinds” of Legendary Pokemon, some of whom you’ll be able to catch through co-op play.

Of course, there will be plenty of other cool new things you can expect in the Crown Tundra:

  • New Pokemon
  • New clothing items
  • New challenges for the post-game

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass | An open world and old friends

One of the last highlights of the Pokemon Direct was that both new zones in the Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass will have “seamless” open-world areas just like the current game. You’ll be able to play on them alone or with friends, and there will of course be Max Raid battles in the open-world areas. 200+ “well-known” Pokemon from past entries will also be making an appearance in the new areas.

If you buy the Expansion Pass for either game, you’ll get both Part 1 and Part 2 as soon as they’re released. If you don’t, worry not: a free update will be released for current owners that will let them trade and interact with owners of the Expansion Pass.

You can pick up the Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass at a price of $29.99 or your regional equivalent; it will be available for pre-purchase later today, January 9, 2020. More details will be coming in the coming weeks and months. You can see the full Pokemon Direct from today below.