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The Pokemon Company explains why Pokemon Sword & Shield went with expansions instead of new game

artwork for both Pokemon Sword & shield for the Switch

Game Informer have had a chance to chat with The Pokemon Company now that they have released both expansions to the incredibly popular Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield games on Nintendo Switch. The publication first asked them why they opted for the expansion route rather than create a new game for players. The company’s response was that they wanted players to spend more time exploring new environments in the game they have already purchased and use their favourite Pokemon that they have collected within the game straight away.

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.

The Pokemon Company

With the second DLC contained within the Expansion Pass, The Crown Tundra, players were able to explore various Pokemon Dens as part of Dynamax Adventures. This allowed them to catch Legendary Pokemon from past titles. The team say that they wanted to change how players catch these Legendary Pokemon and this paved the way for the Dynamax Adventures.

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.

The Pokemon Company

The Pokemon Sword or Pokemon Shield Expansion Pass is available via the Nintendo Switch eShop for current owners of the game. Alternatively if you’ve yet to buy either game they now come bundled with their respective Expansion Passes.


17 thoughts on “The Pokemon Company explains why Pokemon Sword & Shield went with expansions instead of new game”

    1. Of the two possible routes they could have gone, the expansion route nets them less money. Making players buy another $60 game would have doubled their profits (as opposed to a $30 DLC). This article is about why they chose the DLC route as opposed to the additional game route.

      I’m not looking to defend the Pokémon company though. $30 for an expansion pass was way too high, and they are greedy. They rush premature content out for maximum profits. I just didn’t think your comment made sense in regards to this article.

  1. for game preservation, id rather they had stuck with the new game model, or at the very least they need to do a “complete” edition with the additional content instead of a 3rd game later on.

    1. You’d still have to download an update since there’s no such thing as a 100% physical game anymore. That’s not even a Game Freak thing it’s the entire industry.

  2. Honestly, there was one reason I would have preferred a new game over the DLC, and that’s because the story desperately needs fixing. Part of the fun in the previous games is getting to be a hero for most of the game. SwSh had virtually none of that until literally the end of the game, and spent the rest of the time shuffling you from one gym to the next. I think it’s telling that my nephew who is huge into Pokemon got bored of Sword fairly early on and went back to playing Minecraft instead. They tried to dumb down things too much and forgot to make the game actually exciting. The DLC is much better than the base game, but you really have to get past the base game being lackluster to enjoy it. I really hope that they look past the sales numbers and actually look at the engagement and the fan response and realize the current leadership needs to go.

  3. I’m much happier they went with this rather than the usual model of releasing a slightly tweaked version of the same game. Even though it’s not perfect and the games just aren’t quite as good as they were prior to gen 6 this is the most enjoyment I have had in a Pokémon game in a long time and the first game since Blue that I’ve actually completed the Pokédex.

  4. I’m glad they went with DLC rather than revised versions of the games simply because these games aren’t worth the effort of remaking. Gen VIII is a lost cause and I’d rather they just bypassed anything else (definitely don’t bother remaking Sinnoh in this current sorry state) and went straight into Gen IX, hopefully realising that now is most definitely the time to reinvent the franchise. Doesn’t mean change everything, but it does mean put literally every aspect of the formula up for discussion and go for BotW scale reforms. And also make a game that has AAA production values to justify the AAA sales.

    1. Honestly most if not all of the problems with the current state seem to stem from them going 3D. Game Freak has proven time and time again that they don’t work very well with 3D models and the game design that comes with them. When your best attempt at 3D was your first attempt and you’re only going downhill that should be a clear sign that it’s time to go back to 2D.

    2. I truly believe that Gamefreak need to take a couple of years off to rethink the core Pokémon series.

      Things are not like the DS/3DS days anymore. The switch is capable with so much more and GF needs to find ways to capitalise on the added power with things that are more innovative than G and D max. The wild area was so barren and not polished and the fact that the expansions are basically improved Wild Areas didn’t help much.

      GF Core Pokémon team should really take a long break and give The upcoming game whether it’s Gen9 or Gen 4 remake the Same treatment Nintendo gave to revamping Zelda through BotW.

      I really hope that we only get Pokémon Snap next year so they can use the rest of the time to put out a better Pokémon experience come 2022/2023.

  5. I hate the fact that I got stuck with Avery because I chose shield. I had no prior knowledge that sword dlc would get another cute girl while shield players get a fruit loop weird guy who is just as annoying as Hop. Avery ruined the waifu balance. I reload my last save so I won’t see him at the galarian star tournament.

  6. Honestly I feel like they’re giving themselves a bit too much credit here.. Just like with the controllable camera in the wild area… C’mon GameFreak, I don’t mean to be a jerk but you’re just playing catch-up. You say you can ”explore” Pokémon Dens but it’s literally just choosing a glorified menu with timed choices. :/

  7. I think it was for the best.
    I just wish people would stop complaining over the smallest things. It’s been a year since the game came out.

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