The Pokemon Sword & Shield Pokedex expansion that is coming with the game’s first two paid DLC additions is proof that Game Freak is listening to fans of the franchise, even if the developer still believes it was right in reducing the amount of Pokemon offered when the newest iterations initially launched on Switch. Pokemon Sword & Shield have been praised as worthy additions to the series even after early controversy threatened to sink a promising leap to consoles for the mainline entries, selling well and continuing to perform thanks to its online additions like the Wild Area.
For those unfamiliar, the Pokemon Sword & Shield Pokedex controversy began when Game Freak announced it would be removing the National Dex from the games. The National Dex essentially ported all past Pokemon to new games, meaning trainers could bring teams they had trained up in past iterations with them on their journey to the newer titles. Game Freak doubled down on the decision when fans were outraged, stating that the decision to shrink the Sword & Shield Pokedex would help the team in other areas as the franchise transitioned its mainline entries onto the Nintendo Switch. Luckily for both Nintendo and Game Freak, fan outrage didn’t translate into the game performing poorly: Pokemon Sword & Shield reviewed extremely well, and sales were even better.
Because of that, it’s actually somewhat surprising to learn that Game Freak will be expanding the Pokedex in Pokemon Sword & Shield by over 200 additional Pokemon over the course of 2020’s two paid DLC expansions, Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, as announced during the most recent Pokemon Direct. While it was always known that the developer would be placing new Pokemon into the game thanks to datamining and other sources of information, fans never expected an influx of Pokemon on this scale. To that end, it seems that it was likely a decision made by the company to attempt to appease the discontented fans who still felt the game wasn’t Pokemon because it didn’t have the ability to „catch ‚em all“ in the same way prior titles had.
The decision is also fan-friendly because, despite being part of paid DLC, the added Pokemon will be made available to everyone – even those who don’t want to pick up Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. Free updates have been planned for the same day of the launches of each expansion, and those updates will let players acquire the Pokemon that have been added through trading and other methods. The Pokemon Sword & Shield Pokedex expansion is a clear indication of Game Freak’s long-term plan for the franchise, which appears to at least partially be based around letting newly-designed Pokemon breathe for a while before adding older favorites later.
It’s also more evidence that the Pokemon fan community, as a whole, massively over-reacted to the National Dex being removed. Adding over 200 Pokemon to Pokemon Sword & Shield isn’t easy, and they’re being introduced as part of a grander theme in two separate expansions of additional content. Pokemon’s transition to a console allows Game Freak the freedom to offer expansions like this rather than the past model of follow-up or combination games, and that model unfolds over a longer period of time. The Pokemon Sword & Shield Pokedex expansion is evidence that Game Freak is still listening to fans even while they’re attempting to boycott the developer, and it’s proof that the Pokemon community needs to relax while Game Freak works out what the future of Pokemon on consoles really looks like.
Pokemon Sword & Shield are available now on Nintendo Switch. The Isle of Armor expansion and The Crown Tundra expansion are both planned for 2020 releases.
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