January 9 Pokemon Direct Roundup – the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra

Nintendo is kicking off the New Year with a brand new Pokémon Direct. After the release of Sword and Shield last year, fans are eagerly awaiting more Pokémon info. Will more Pokémon get added to the dex? What will become of the datamined Pokémon that were discovered in Sword and Shield’s code? Well, Nintendo has a full 20 minutes to wow us with new Pokémon news. Here’s what they showed:

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX

It appears as if we are getting a remake of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon from the ground up. The game will have a storybook graphical style, with environments looking like handpainted scenes and Pokémon models being heavily cell shaded. The mechanics will also… evolve (get it?) to include things like Mega-Evolutions. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX will be available for purchase on March 6, 2020. You can pre-purchase and download a demo from the eShop starting today. You will be able to carry over your demo save data to the full version of the game.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass

It looks like DLC is going to be the biggest new thing hitting the Pokémon world. We called it.

Instead of releasing a third updated version like Pokémon Yellow was to Red and Blue, or a sequel like Pokémon Black and White 2, Pokémon Sword and Shield will simply get new content via DLC updates. This will include all new story content, new locations, and new Pokémon, that can be experienced using the save data you already have.

We mostly just got a brief look at the development process, but there were some interesting tidbits here. Slowpoke will have a Galarian form. The players will explore a Pokémon version of Loch Ness. New gyms and gym leaders will be available to fight, many of which seem to have a Japanese style to them. Perhaps there is some influence from the Kanto region.

Sure enough, many of the datamined Pokémon showed up, including Venusaur and Blastoise and their Gigantamax forms. All three starters from this generation are also getting Gigantamax forms as well, unlocked by playing through the expansion content. Over 200 Pokémon will be added to the dex via expansions, including both new designs and returning favorites.

In this pack you will visit a Pokémon dojo and train under Mustard, the mentor of the former champion, Leon. You’ll also interact with other apprentices as you train to perfect your Pokémon skills. In Sword you will train with Klara, a poison type user, while in Shield you will train with Avery, a psychic type user.

The pack comes with brand new fashion items as well as customizations for your bike. You’ll also gain access to several new moves that can be taught with a move tutor, Apricorns which can be made into special Poke Balls, and the EXP Charm which will make it easier to level your team.

This new expansion is called the Isle of Armor.

But that’s not all. There’s a whole other pack in development. This one seems to be based around artic and ruins expeditions. The Regi-golems took center stage here, including several new Regi-golems that we have never seen before. We also got to see brand new Galarian forms of the original three legendary birds! Now that’s a throwback.

This expansion will also let you dive deep into Pokémon dens, the same places you had Max Raid battles in, in the main game. This will be done via a new co-op mode that will let you dive through these dens together. There you can meet legendary Pokémon from past titles, including Mewtwo, Ho-oh, Lugia, Suciune, Raikou, Entei, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Uxie, Mesprit, Azelf, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Tornadus, Thundurus, Landorus, Reshiram, Zekrom, Xerneas, Yveltal, Zygarde, Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Fini, Solgaleo, Lunala Cressalia, Heatran, Latios, Latias, and apparently much more. You’ll even be able to catch some of these legendaries. It’s a legendary buffet! There will even be new legendaries to encounter.

This expansion pack is called the Crown Tundra.

We also got a look at three more legendary Pokémon, a martial arts bear, and a floating deer of some sort.

The martial arts bear appears to be the major legendary of the Isle of Armor, Kubfu. As you train, Kubfu will be able to evolve into Urshifu which will be able to adopt two different fighting styles. Single-strike style makes Urshifu a fighting/dark type while Rapid-strike style makes it a fighting/water type. Both styles will have their own unique Gigantamax forms and moves.

The floating deer is called Calyrex and is the main legendary of the Crown Tundra. It is a psychic/grass type and is the centerpoint of the Crown Tundra’s story, though much about it remains a mystery.

The Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra will play slightly different from the main game. Both are completely open world and seamless, like the Wild Area of the main game. Players will be able to connect with other players in any are of these regions. They will also be able to participate in Max Raid battles as Pokémon Dens will be strewn about the maps.

The Isle of Armor will be available in June 2020 while the Crown Tundra will be available sometime this fall. Purchasing the expansion pass will give you access to both upon release. You can pre-purchase the expansion pass for $29.99 starting today. If you do, you will get a few special costume items as well.

It’s also worth noting that the expansion pass must be purchased separately for Sword and Shield. However, each expansion is slightly different, offering different characters to meet and Pokémon to catch.

If you don’t own the expansion pass, you will still be able to obtain Pokémon locked to expansion content through trading. You will also be able to battle them online. Once the expansion content releases, players will also be able to transfer any Pokémon they have in Pokémon Home to Sword and Shield as long as they could be obtained through expansion content. This holds true even if you don’t own the expansions! Speaking of Pokémon Home it’s planned to launch in 2020.

New Max Raid Battles

Starting today, Sword and Shield players will be more likely to run into Gigantamax versions of Coalossal, Lapras, Flapple, and Appleton.

There will also be a software update later today that will allow you to encounter Klara (in sword) or Avery (in shield) before the expansions drop. You’ll also be able to encounter a Galarian Slowpoke and even catch it to add it to your team, however you won’t be able to evolve it into a Galarian Slowbro or Slowking until the expansions come out. The item needed to evolve it into Slowbro can be found in the Isle of Armor while the item needed to evolve it into Slowking can be found in the Crown Tundra. You can have this encounter by going to Wedgehurst station.

That’s all that Nintendo had for this Pokémon Direct. What do you think about the new way Nintendo is doing Pokémon expansions? Watch the whole thing below and let us know in the comments.