Pokémon Sword & Shield’s New Co-Op Dungeons Explained

Developer Gamefreak was quite busy in making its announcement that a new expansion pass is in development for Pokémon Sword & Shield, due out later this year, where new co-op dungeons will allow players to find, fight, and befriend some of the rarest and most powerful Pokémon of all. In total, more than 200 new Pokémon will be added through both the expansion Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra, and among them will be returning legendary Pokémon.

While both expansions look to offer new story content and different places to explore, Crown Tundra stands out through the addition of new co-op dungeons. Producer Junichi Masuda and Director Shigeru Ohmori described how this would be a space for players to explore with friends, and where trainers may locate legendary Pokémon from past games. During the Pokémon Direct presentation, glimpses of what to expect were shown off, beginning with a what appears to be a Moltres, but likely of a completely different type based on its dark colors.

This was followed by another that looks similar to Articuno, but still seemingly an Ice-type.

Rounding out the original trio of legendary bird Pokémon was a Zapdos inspired creation that seems to be a Fire-type.

In addition, the Pokémon Direct showed off several more of the older Legendary Pokémon, including Mewtwo, Kyogre, Groudon, Zekrom and Reshiram, and mentioned that these co-op spaces would be where to locate new ones as well.

The inclusion of so many Legendary Pokémon into the second release of expansion content in the Fall of 2020 may signify the overall direction that the Pokémon series is moving in terms of endgame progression. For decades, most Pokémon games have stuck to the same, predictable formula whereby a player begins with one Pokémon and from there, travels and levels up a diverse team to take on the Elite Four, or some variation of an endgame series of bosses.

However, as more and more AAA games look to extend the natural lives of their titles, it would make sense for developer Gamefreak to include in this second expansion release these kinds of co-op dungeons. From the sounds of the Pokémon Direct, finding Legendary Pokémon from previous games seems like it will be a rare occurrence, which will encourage trainers to group up with their friends and dive deep into these dens frequently to catch them all.

In this way, both with the introduction of Max Raid Battles in the base game and the upcoming Crown Tundra expansion content, the game feels as though it is tailoring its endgame content to be like an MMORPG with raids. Players who want to play the game in the same ways they have for years can do so, building up their team and trading with other players if they wish. This new content, meanwhile, looks to keep the game engaging for players in the long-term, especially for those who want to capture every Pokémon in the game.

For now, we can only speculate about how this will play out since we are about nine months before Crown Tundra is released, but so far it looks to be an interesting direction that Gamefreak is taking with the series.

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