GameFreak Announces New Expansions for Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version

Writer’s Note: This announcement was made well over a week ago on the 9th of January, but the current news is all rumours. Personally, the coverage of rumours is boring and perpetuates uncontrolled hype for things that may not happen, so I shall be writing about these expansions without getting too deep into the perpetual controversies these games seem to be in.

As a quick recap, Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version are the latest in a 20-year-old gaming franchise created by GameFreak. The game is set a new region based on the United Kingdom called the Galar Region. Historically, each “generation” of Pokémon games have seen either a third “complete” version being released (i.e. Pokémon: Ruby Version and Pokémon: Sapphire Version getting a third version called Pokémon: Emerald Version), or, more recently, pseudo-sequels (i.e. Pokémon: Sun Version and Pokémon: Moon Version getting new versions called Pokémon: Ultrasun Version and Pokémon: Ultramoon Version).

Box art for Pokémon: Ruby Version, Pokémon: Sapphire Version, and Pokémon: Emerald Version

During a recent Pokémon Direct, Junichi Masuda, producer of Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version at GameFreak, and Shigeru Ohmori, director of the aforementioned games at the same company, revealed that the latest games would not be receiving a third version or pseudo-sequels, but rather an expansion to each version with their own, unique Pokémon.

They also revealed that a free update was set to release the same day that would bring additional Pokémon to the games that were originally cut from the initial release.

These expansion passes will introduce new characters, Pokémon, and areas for the player to meet, catch, and explore respectively.

New Pokémon to Catch!

As mentioned previously, new Pokémon will be obtainable in these new areas such as Kubfu and Calyrex. Here are the Pokédex entries for the Kubfu lines and Calyrex:

Kubfu
Category: Wushu Pokémon 
Type: Fighting
Height: 2′
Weight: 26.5 lbs.
Ability: Inner Focus

Kubfu will appear in The Isle of Armor. This Pokémon is hardworking and strives to train both its body and mind. It uses each defeat as motivation, training itself with even more vigor after a loss in order to grow stronger. It has an organ that produces “fighting energy” in its lower abdomen, and before heading into battle, Kubfu will increase this energy through unique breathing techniques and intense focus. Wild Kubfu live in mountainous areas far away from the Galar region, but it was once a species that called Galar its home. It’s noted in historical texts that this species used to head to uncharted lands with people as they set out to trade or explore. Records suggest that the Kubfu living in faraway mountains today may have descended from Kubfu that became naturalized to the distant lands they visited in their journeys.

Urshifu (Single Strike Style) Urshifu (Rapid Strike Style)
Category: Wushu Pokémon Category: Wushu Pokémon 
Type: Fighting/Dark Type: Fighting/Water
Height: 6’3″ Height: 6’3″
Weight: 231.5 lbs. Weight: 231.5 lbs.
Ability: Unseen Fist Ability: Unseen Fist

Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu after it has undergone sufficient training. It seems that Urshifu has two forms—a Single Strike Style and a Rapid Strike Style—and it appears that each form has different types as well. Urshifu in Single Strike Style form favor battling without holding anything back. When enraged, they will mercilessly attack an opponent until it is utterly defeated. A Single Strike Style Urshifu’s movements are often direct and involve rushing forward in a straight line. It will keep its distance from its opponents at first only to leap in close instantly to deliver a powerful blow. Urshifu in Rapid Strike Style form maintain a calm demeanor, observing their opponents and measuring their strength while dodging attacks. A Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will use flowing movements in battle to smoothly parry an opponent’s moves and then overwhelm the opponent with a flurry of rapid strikes.

Gigantamax Urshifu (Single Strike Style) Gigantamax Urshifu (Rapid Strike Style)
Category: Wushu Pokémon Category: Wushu Pokémon 
Type: Fighting/Dark Type: Fighting/Water
Height: 95’2″+ Height: 85’4″+
Weight: ??? lbs. Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Unseen Fist Ability: Unseen Fist

Single Strike Style Urshifu and Rapid Strike Style Urshifu also have Gigantamax forms. Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu looks ready to bellow in fury. People call it both “the very embodiment of rage” and “a divine emissary that banishes evil spirits with its fury.” Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will quietly maintain its stance with a calm expression. When facing this Pokémon, it seems some will become greatly agitated, feeling as if the very depths of their soul have been exposed. Yet others report feeling a sense of relief, as if they’d been cleansed of evil spirits.

Calyrex
Category: King Pokémon 
Type: Psychic/Grass
Height: 3’7″
Weight: 17 lbs.
Ability: Unnerve

Trainers will encounter Calyrex in The Crown Tundra. This Pokémon ruled all of Galar in ancient times. Though it appears delicate and slight, its every move is filled with grace and dignity. It also has extremely high intelligence, and it’s said to see every past, present, and future event.

Galarian Slowpoke
Category: Dopey Pokémon 
Type: Psychic
Height: 3’11”
Weight: 79.4 lbs.
Ability: Gluttony / Own Tempo

The Slowpoke of the Galar region used to eat the seeds of a certain plant that grew in their habitat. These seeds were in fact Galarica seeds, used to this day as an essential spice for cooking in the Galar region. The Slowpoke in Galar built up particles of this spice in their bodies over several generations, eventually gaining the unique appearance and behavior they are known for today. Galarian Slowpoke spend their days wallowing on seashores and riverbanks without thinking about anything in particular. Occasionally, they might get a very sharp look in their eyes, but they will soon revert to their zoned-out expression. It’s thought that this behavior is caused by the accumulated Galarica particles stimulating Galarian Slowpoke’s brain, resulting in it thinking of something tremendous—only for the Galarian Slowpoke to immediately forget what it had just thought of. Galarian Slowpoke can evolve into Galarian Slowbro if a specific item that can be found on the Isle of Armor is used. It can evolve into Galarian Slowking instead if a specific item that can be found in the Crown Tundra is used.

The Starters Get Gigantamax Forms!

In addition to the new Pokémon, the starters of Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version will be getting Gigantamax forms.

With these new forms, come new Pokédex entries, which are as follows:

Gigantamax Cinderace
Category: Striker Pokémon 
Type: Fire
Height: 88’7″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Blaze

The burning ball at Cinderace’s feet has grown to massive proportions thanks to Gigantamax energy. If Gigantamax Cinderace kicks the ball using its well-honed techniques, its fighting spirit will possess the ball and cause the ball to pursue opponents as if it had a mind of its own. Gigantamax Cinderace boasts incredible leg strength–in fact, its legs are said to rank among the strongest of all Pokémon. Even without its gigantic Pyro Ball, it can deliver powerful kicking moves that overwhelm other Dynamax Pokémon.

Gigantamax Inteleon
Category: Secret Agent Pokémon 
Type: Water
Height: 131’3″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Torrent

Inteleon has gained an extremely long tail thanks to Gigantamaxing. The tail’s length is said to be over 130 feet. While Gigantamaxed, Inteleon will stretch its long tail out and hold it straight to form a pillar, and Inteleon will take up a battle position at the top. This Pokémon has an incredibly sharp mind and calculates the precise effects that gravity will have on the trajectory of its shots, enabling it to be an extremely effective sniper. Inteleon has many hidden tools within its body, and these have also been enhanced due to its Gigantamaxing. The nictitating membranes on its eyes not only allow it to measure the distance to the target—they now let Inteleon detect temperature, air pressure, and even humidity. Inteleon is a skilled sniper as well—easily hitting a Berry that’s rolling around over nine miles away.

Gigantamax Rillaboom
Category: Drummer Pokémon 
Type: Grass
Height: 91’10″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Overgrow

Rillaboom’s tree-stump drum has grown rapidly—to the point that it now resembles a small forest on its own. Gigantamax Rillaboom has merged with this forest of drums and become even more powerful. It can control its sticks as if they were its own limbs and will demonstrate transcendental drumming techniques. Gigantamax Rillaboom will focus completely on playing its drums, compelled by the power welling up inside it. The sound can reach across oceans and be heard by those living in other regions. It’s said that those who hear the beat will begin to dance uncontrollably, overwhelmed by a rhythm that surges from inside them.

New Characters and New Outfits!

One of the many features of Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon Shield Version is the ability to customize your player character’s outfit by going to the many different clothing shops throughout the region. While this isn’t a new feature to the Pokémon series, with the ability to customize your player character’s skin tone, hair color, and clothing first appeared in Pokémon: X Version and Pokémon: Y Version, it has since been greatly expanded upon.

Not only are there new outfits to get at Isle of Armor, but there are also new clothes one can purchase in the Galar Region proper.

These are all excellent, themetic gear to be added into the games, along with the new outfits that allow one to dress up their character like Marnie or Chairman Rose. There will be even more different clothing options to choose from, over one hundred in fact.

New Items and Returning Features!

It was also revealed that there will be brand new items that players can find in the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra, and even the return of tutor moves that have never been available in previous mainline Pokémon games.

Summation

Overall, it appears that what gamers got with Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version was only the tip of the content iceburg, especially if what was revealed with the Pokémon Direct was anything to go off of. You can preorder the Expansion Passes for Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version now, and they will release in June of this year.

Editorial Note: If it wasn’t already obvious or assumed, the Pokédex entries were not written by me, but rather taken from the publicly available presskits anyone can access. Also, just to cover my bases, the art and screenshots also came from the same presskit. If you thought I wrote those ‘dex entries…. God help you.

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