For Pokemon Sword and Shield on Nintendo Switch, Game Freak and The Pokemon Company opted to release DLC expansions in place of the traditional "third version" of the game. In the past, games like Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon added new content that wasn't in the original release, but offered that content in a separate, fully-priced package. In a new interview with Game Informer, The Pokemon Company revealed why they chose to go in a different direction for this Pokemon generation, and the potential benefits they saw for the game's existing players. Clearly there was some hesitation behind the decision!
“There was an element of apprehension in moving to a downloadable model, but we were confident that players would enjoy exploring the new environments, uncovering new storylines, and meeting new human characters and Pokémon in both The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. With past titles, players generally had to collect and raise their Pokémon completely from scratch, so with a DLC we thought players would enjoy being able to use their favorite Pokémon right out of the gate.”
It's hard to disagree with that logic! The DLC route allows players to enjoy new content without having to replay an adventure that mostly adheres to the same formula. A lot of Pokemon fans likely missed out on the content that was released in third versions of the games, due to a lack of interest in restarting their journey. At $30 for both sets of DLC, this approach was also cheaper than charging players for a new game.
There are still some Pokemon fans that would have preferred a third version, however. Arguments have been made that DLC content is not forever, and can be lost to time, as opposed to content that's offered on a game card. The Pokemon Company and Nintendo have mostly assuaged those fears with new releases of Sword and Shield that offer the DLC and game in one complete package. It's still the same price, but it offers fans the opportunity to have it either way.
It will be interesting to see whether or not The Pokemon Company decides to stick with the DLC route for the next Pokemon generation. That could be a while away, so for now, fans will just have to wait and see.
Were you happy with the DLC for Pokemon Sword and Shield? Would you have preferred to see a third version, instead? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!