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In this morning’s Pokémon Direct, Game Freak had a couple big reveals to share with fans. If you’re not in-the-know, Pokémon Direct is a direct-to-home streaming news event where Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Game Freak share the latest developments directly to you, the player. Today’s broadcast was roughly 20 minutes and brought some tantalizing reveals, so let’s jump in.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX
Nintendo’s first announcement was Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.

Fifteen years after their original 2006 western release, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon‘s Red & Blue Rescue Team games are getting a full-fledged remake for the Nintendo Switch.

The original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team titles were on the Game Boy Advance (Red) and Nintendo DS (Blue), and featured a human protagonist who had been turned into a Pokémon and forgotten their past.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red Blue Rescue Team
The original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team titles were released in 2006.

Teaming up with other Pokémon, you take jobs missions and fight through dungeons with the game’s turn-based roguelike combat.

While the original pair of games received a lukewarm response, sitting at an aggregate 64/100 on Metacritic, these new titles look poised to breathe fresh life into these classics.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
The new Rescue Team DX features all new art and a modern graphical style.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX features all new artwork and a completely reimagined graphical style, bringing the original titles up to date with other modern Pokémon titles on the Nintendo Switch.

The game also has new machinima cutscenes that bring a fresh look to the classic title. The combat looks roughly the same, albeit leveraged with the game’s new 3D graphics.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
The combat looks much the same, albeit leveraging the new 3D graphics.

A demo is already available in the Nintendo eShop, and saved data will be transferable from the demo to the final game upon release. The game is available for pre-order and is scheduled for a March 6, 2020 release date.

While that’s all Nintendo had to show for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, what followed was something we’ve all been waiting for (or perhaps, had given up hope on waiting for. It’s no secret that the newest main-series iterations of the Pokémon franchise on Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, were surrounded by heavy controversy before-and-during their release.

Featuring only about 40% of the National Dex from their predecessors, Sword and Shield became a focus of heated debate among fans and industry insiders alike, each with their own take on if Game Freak’s decision was right or wrong (acceptable or unforgiveable).

Inevitably, the games released to extreme commercial success, outpacing every other Pokemon title in the series history in sheer speed of its sales. Many critics praised the games, and the received a mostly positive response, with both sitting at an 80/100 on Metacritic.

Expand
Game Freak is releasing expansion passes for Sword and Shield.

Still not all fans were content. Even our own authorial staff have holdouts, despite being life-long fans of the series. Alas, it seems Game Freak has heard fan’s demands, and is fast at work addressing complaints with their new Pokémon Sword & Shield Expansion Pass.

These will include two expansion updates planned for separate releases later this year. The expansions were compared to the series’ “third entry” from previous generations, such as Platinum or Emerald, but exactly how far that comparison carries is unclear.

On thing is certain: You’ll be able to carry your save over into the new content.

Each expansion will be available on either version of the game, and rather than merely combining previous entries, they will feature all new content.

Each expansion will add an entirely new, unique area to the game. Both new areas will function like Sword and Shield‘s “wild area”, which are open world, free roaming areas that features complete control over the camera.

Each new area boasts a size larger than the wild area itself, expanding the Galar region to a more respectable size.

The first expansion, The Isle of Armor, is set to release in June and takes place on an island off the coast of the Galar region. You will join a Pokémon dojo under the tutelage of your new mentor, Mustard.

Each game will introduce a new rival in your adventure: Klara, who specializes in poison type Pokémon for Sword, and Avery for Shield, who specializes in psychic types.

The Isle of Armor expansion will also introduce a new legendary Pokémon, Kubfu. Kubfu is a fighting type given to you by Mustard at some point in the story.

Kubfu’s evoution, Urshifu, has two separate evolutionary paths each with their own type and style: Single Strike Style (Fighting- and Dark-type) or Rapid Strike Style (Fighting- and Water-type).

Along with new story and Pokémon, the update will come with new Gigantamax forms of Sword and Shield‘s starters.

The second expansion, The Crown of Tundra, is set to release in the fall of this year. Being so far off, less information was presented for this segment, but Game Freak did reveal the expansion takes place in a frozen wasteland to the north of the Galar region.

Like the Isle of Armor, this area will also feature new Pokémon not previously available. It will also focus on exploration, with Game Freak giving temples and mysterious artifacts as examples.

Players will also be able to cooperate to explore Pokémon dens more deeply. Through these dens, The Crown Tundra will afford the opportunity to capture a variety of legendaries that weren’t available in the original release, including its own legendary: Calyrex, a psychic and grass type Pokémon.

Game Freak also suggests you’ll see new Dynamax forms of old legendaries, and even catch some of them via the new co-op mode.

Coinciding with this release will be a free update to Sword and Shield that will add 200 Pokémon into the game previously left out, some of which will be available via the new areas.

The new expansion will, lasty, include a myriad of teased new aesthetic options for your character and even your bicycle.

These expansions, along with the highly anticipated Pokémon Home app for the Switch revealed to be launched in February of this year, Game Freak crammed as much information and excitement for fans as they could in twenty minutes. Not having addressed any of the mechanical problems of the games though, we wonder exactly how far these updates will reach.

Monad
Gamer, writer, strategist, father.

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