Today's Pokémon Direct has revealed that Pokémon Sword and Shield will both be receiving an Expansion Pass, providing lots more content to players who already own the base game(s).

Rather than launching a third version or 'Ultra' versions as we've seen in the past, Sword and Shield players will be able to jump right into these new adventures with the same save data they have been using in the base games. The Expansion is actually split into two parts, and they both look and sound pretty amazing to us:

The Isle of Armor
In this expansion, Trainers will head to the Isle of Armor, the stage of a new adventure in the Galar region. The Isle of Armor is a giant island full of environments not seen in Galar before. There players will find wave-swept beaches, forests, bogs, caves, and sand dunes. There are also plenty of Pokémon that make this island their home, living freely amid the lush natural surroundings. There’s even a dojo here that specializes in some very particular training styles. Trainers and their Pokémon will take up an apprenticeship under the master of this dojo and train hard to become even stronger.

The Crown Tundra
This expansion is set in the snow-swept realm of the Crown Tundra. The Crown Tundra features a beautiful shining, silvery landscape. In this frigid area, with its jagged winter mountains, people live in small communities where they support and rely on one another. A certain person will appoint the player as the leader of their exploration team in the Crown Tundra, where Trainers will be tasked with investigating the reaches of this frozen land. Here, Trainers will be able to explore the full depth of Pokémon Dens, which they’ve so far only been able to glimpse in Max Raid Battles.

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The new areas will contain Pokémon not previously obtainable in Sword and Shield - both old and new. If you don't want to buy the Expansion Pass, you'll still be able to obtain these new Pokémon thanks to a free update which will be launching alongside the Pass. This update will allow you to trade with a friend who has caught the new Pokémon.

The Expansion is also set to bring new outfits, new characters - including a man named Mustard who will be responsible for the player's training and two new rivals called Klara and Avery - and new features, too. There are even new items and new Dens to explore which will contain Legendary Pokémon from past games.

The passes will be available to purchase directly from the Nintendo eShop later today, with pricing set at £26.99 / $29.99 per version. The Isle of Armor is scheduled for release by the end of June 2020, while The Crown Tundra is planned for fall 2020. A smaller update will go live later today (for free) that gives players a small slice of what to expect in the full expansion.

Blimey, we weren't quite expecting all of that. As always, make sure to share your thoughts on this in the comments below!