Pokemon Sword and Shield Announces an Expansion DLC; Here's Why Some Fans Aren't Happy

Jan 13, 2020

Game Freak's Pokémon Sword and Shield recently rolled out Expansion Pass: The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, which boasts a myriad of legendaries, new characters, new outfits, additional stories, and more than 200 Pokemon available on the two DLC packs carrying a $29.99 price tag.

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While these 200 Pokemon are available via trading or Pokemon Home, to be able to capture them in-game, players need to purchase the DLC and some fans aren't happy with the paywall as it restricts them from accessing the content without shelling out the aforesaid amount. This has garnered a mixed reaction from the fans; however, most of the players deem Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC as a relatively better option as compared to buying a new, upgraded version of the title - for example, Ultra Sun and Moon.

DLC (Downloadable content) is more efficient as compared to improved versions. The Pokemon franchise is no stranger to upgrades -- the series has been receiving upgrades on a regular basis after Pokemon Yellow added Pikachu in the form of a starter, packing it into a charming yellow cartridge. 

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The enhanced versions primarily focus on improving the base game, while making negligible progression in the story department. In short, buying another game merely to be able to access certain features feels like you are throwing money around, especially since Pokemon Sword and Shield is a full-priced game.

Although game developers and publishers do their best to attach a reasonable price tag to their titles, this isn't the case when it comes to a few games. It is worth noting that price is one of the most important factors that encourage a consumer to purchase a specific game. A large number of gamers prefer playing games through Game Pass, monthly subscription service for Xbox, etc simply because they aren't willing to go for a full-priced hard copy. In short, developers can encourage more gamers to attend by lowering the admission cost.

Aside from pricing, DLC enables you to immediately access the current save data. There is more flexibility that comes with a DLC model. While the Pokemon Expansion Pass comprises The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, a report from IGN suggests players are likely to be treated with regular updates, surprises and a more lot than what they have signed up for. In short, the Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC not only value players' time and money but also offer content they are genuinely interested in playing.

Moving Forward

The franchise is relying on Pokemon Sword and Shield to bring in more players and grow its popularity. It looks like Game Freak is paving the way for the next generation of Pokemon through Pokemon Sword and Shield - we will need to wait to find out whether that proves to be better or worse. Nevertheless, it is good to see the game developer making efforts to adding modern components such as in-game events.

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Engaging in finding new 'Mons' using Mystery Codes or visiting the local GameStop (seen in Pokemon Sun and Moon) is less interesting as compared to looking for dens for a Gigantamax Pokemon with a rotating cast. The game's DLC can be touted as an extension of this encouraging trend. On top of that, it gives us hope that upcoming mainline Pokemon will be equipped with an array of latest amenities such as improved integration/multiplayer experiences online, which has turned out to be an arduous task due to Nintendo’s outmoded model until now.

Tossing Pokemon Traditions Aside

This DLC is exciting beyond a shadow of a doubt; however, it is important for the developers to carefully select the Pokemon traditions it wants to retain and then ones it wants to leave behind, given that Pokemon Yellow is still considered as one of the best titles yet. 

In an interview with IGN, the game's producer Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori, who is the director of Pokemon Sword and Shield, Masuda said the team always considers the position of the themes three years after addition as well as the future role of the game systems while creating them. It is imperative for the team to bear in mind that the players will be three years older, and figure out what would keep them engaged at the time.

"It's the Toy Story scenario," Masuda said. While love doesn't fade away, players will have different habits and will outgrow their habits, he explained. As a result, it is important to make sure that the series suits the fancy of its growing audience without hampering factors that appeal to newer players, regardless of their age. That's not an easy task, Masuda noted.

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Loyal fans that enjoyed catching Pokemon and didn't mind leaving the comforts of their homes to do so aren't necessarily willing to engage in this activity now. In short, the design of the game that worked in the past may not lure long-time fans now and forever.

We cannot deny the fact that Pokemon Sword and Shield courageously diverted from the long-established formula setting some of the game's most challenging elements in order. On the downside, the growth requires us to leave some of the title's most popular elements behind. It will be interesting to see what the next generation considers as the core of the franchise.

Engaging in Max Raid Battles, which involves going toe-to-toe with friends, and affectionately cooking for your Pokemon are likely to be the latest norms. Game Freak has a reputation for being slow when it comes to making notable changes to the franchise; however, these small steps - the DLC being a major one among them - suggests Pokemon will continue getting better while still retaining a major portion of the elements that make the game immensely popular among players of all age groups.

In a piece of related news, Nintendo has announced that Pokémon Mystery Dungeon will be available on Switch starting March 6th. In addition to that, the company announced Pokémon Home will be released in February this year.

Buy Pokémon Sword

Buy Pokémon Shield


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