Culture Feature

I'm So Happy I Was Wrong About the New Nintendo Pokemon Direct

I'm hyped for Pokemon all over again.

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A few days back, I made some statistical predictions regarding the content of Nintendo's first Pokemon Direct of 2020. I couldn't be happier to say that my predictions were totally wrong.

I went into the 1.9.2020 Pokemon Direct expecting to see a dissertation on Pokemon Home, Pokemon's new cloud-based storage system––useful, but boring. In fact, I calculated new Pokemon Home content at a 100% likelihood. But while Pokemon Home was briefly mentioned with an estimated launch window in February, we didn't learn any new information about it.

On the other side of the coin, my tempered expectations for everything else (i.e. all the fresh Pokemon content I actually want) were completely overturned.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Switch Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

Right off the bat, Nintendo announced that Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, the roguelike, dungeon crawler Pokemon spin-off that ranks amongst my favorite video game franchise spin-offs ever, will be coming to Nintendo Switch (I estimated the likelihood of this to be 0.3%). Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, set to release on March 6th, seems to be a combined version of the previous Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team games with updated graphics and new features like Mega Evolution. We've been waiting over four years now for a new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon entry, so it's hard to overstate how hyped I feel about this.

And that was only the first few minutes of the new Pokemon Direct. The rest of the time was focused on detailing the brand new Pokemon Sword & Shield Expansion Pass, which will give trainers access to a whole slew of Pokemon DLC content starting in June. There's a lot to dig into here.

First things first, the new Pokemon DLC will come in two parts (sold together for $30), "The Isle of Armor" and "The Crown of Tundra." Each opens up an entire new part of the Galar region complete with new characters, new trainers, two new rivals (Klara, who seems ripped straight out of Demon Slayer, and Avery), new storylines, and yes, new Pokemon. Better yet, both new areas function in the same open-world style as the Wild Area, so there should hopefully be lots of room to further explore the world of Sword & Shield.

Pokemon Sword and Shield DLC Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

Most importantly, though, the new Pokemon DLC brings along more old Pokemon into the new generation––200 in total. So while the Galar Pokedex still won't include every Pokemon from past games, these expansions will get players a good deal closer to a Gen 8 living dex. Players won't even need to purchase the DLC to get access to the "new" old Pokemon, as a Day One update will make all copies of Sword & Shield compatible with the new monsters. But what new Pokemon are included? know...all the best ones, pretty much.

Garchomp is back to overtake the meta with his upright shark badassery.

Garchomp Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

All the Gen 1 fans who complained about only Charizard getting a Gigantamax form have a lot to look forward to, as well. Both Blastoise and Venasaur are returning, and yes, they can both Gigantamax.

Gigantamax Blastoise Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

Gigantamax Venasaur Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

The Gen 8 starters can Gigantamax now, too, and for the first time, I'm actually regretting not picking Cinderace. He's standing on top of a giant flaming rabbit ball like an anime villain, and it's actually super cool.

Gigantamax Cinderace Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

All of the old legendary Pokemon are coming back, too. That means Mewtwo. Oh, and the Legendary Birds are getting new Galarian forms. Galarian Articuno has f*cking laser beam eyes. Insane.

Galarian Legendary Birds Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

As for new legendary Pokemon, we'll be getting two new Regis alongside the return of Regice, Registeel, and Regirock. They don't have names yet, but the designs suggest Electric and Dragon typings.

Galarian Regis Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

We're also getting this weird new big brain Bunny legendary named Calyrex. It's pretty creepy the more you look at it.

Calyrex Nintendo/ The Pokemon Company

Speaking as someone who has been playing Pokemon since Gen 1 and actually really loved Sword & Shield, flaws and all, I couldn't be more excited for the new adventures Gen 8 still has in store. Hopefully this will be enough to ease up some of the toxicity leftover in the community after Dexit, too. After all, it would be a shame for so many members of the fandom to miss out on all the fun.