Back in January, when the Pokémon Sword & Shield Expansion Pass was first revealed, fans immediately took more of a shine to The Crown Tundra — the second of two planned DLCs — than the first DLC, The Isle of Armor. The announcement trailer was heavy on concept art and far lighter on works-in-progress, but even back then, the snowy expanse looked more intriguing. Legendaries galore, in Galar at last! Including rad new regional forms for Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres! You know, from Kanto! The birds your parents might actually recognize!
In June, The Isle of Armor came and went. We called it a solid first piece of DLC that has a few chinks. I honestly liked it more than I thought I would. But thereafter, all trainers’ eyes were once again centered on what was to come. We knew our wait would end sometime during the nebulous date range of “Autumn 2020.” Beyond that, we had no choice but to chill.
In waltzed Tsunekazu Ishihara, President and CEO of The Pokémon Company. And, as all Ace Trainers know, that means news updates.
And there we have it: Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Crown Tundra launches on October 22nd. Owners of the respective Expansion Passes for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will be able to explore the titular new region as the chief of an expedition that has been assembled by Peony, a brand new character. Your investigations will take you across snow-covered hills and through ancient ruins, with one of the more exciting new features being Pokémon Dens — a co-op mode where multiple players team up and decide which routes to take as they explore labyrinthine dens where legendary Pokémon await. And how many legendary Pokémon will be joining the Gen 8 roster courtesy of The Crown Tundra?
Yeah, all of them.
In addition to the new region, The Crown Tundra also introduces the Galarian Star Tournament, where players will be able to select a partner from Sword and Shield‘s charmingly eclectic roster of characters and contend in two-versus-two climactic battles against everyone from Hop and Marnie to Leon and Raihan (who I keep calling “Rhydon” for some reason) and even newly-introduced characters from the DLCs, including Mustard, Klara, Avery, and whomever they throw at us next. If all of this reminds you of competitions from previous games, such as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon‘s Battle Tree, congratulations! You’re not alone. But hey, this stuff is always a blast, so let’s have some fun.
We’re all in agreement that Piers is the coolest gym leader, right? Good.
Today’s news update didn’t end there. Dedicated to continue talking at all costs, Ishihara-san went on to mention that Pokémon Sword and Shield will be re-released on November 6th in complete packages containing the base games and their Expansion Passes all on the same game card. If you haven’t given Galar a shot yet, this sounds like the best new time to do so. Also announced is a new line of obtainable Pikachus, each with one of Ash Ketchum’s iconic hats. (If your brain just made a Watch Dogs pre-order meme joke, yes, so did mine.) Don’t let your friends who decry The Pokémon Company’s alleged obsession with Gen 1 catch wind of this or it will be hats-off and fisticuffs all over again.
Passwords will be revealed in the coming days for each of these beloved little yellow rodents. You can grab your first new event Pikachu, who sports the Kanto League headwear, starting now by plugging in the following password: P1KACHUGET. Get it? Do you get it? “Pikachu Get.”
Lastly, because Ishihara-san still had not taken a breath since he began to speak, it was announced that connectivity between Pokémon GO and Pokémon HOME will allow for your GO catches to appear in Pokémon Sword & Shield, though for now the targeted release date for this upgrade is simply “before the end of 2020.” By sending a critter from GO to HOME, you’ll receive a package in GO with a cute little Meltan. HOME, on the other hand, will nab you a unique Melmetal capable of Gigantamax. So uh, go home as soon as you can.
Ishihara-san, his face no doubt visibly purple by this point, finally surfaced for air by concluding his speech with an invitation for fans young, old, Japanese, and decidedly not Japanese to watch famed Japanese rock band Bump of Chicken debut a hot new music video. I’m not even kidding. Also, I teared up a bit from the visuals despite knowing very little Japanese, and I bet you will, too.