With the first expansion for Pokemon Sword and Shield, Isle of Armor, now out, people are now digging into its contents. It turns out that Game Freak kept one major new addition in the new area secret—-the return of following Pokemon.
Walking Pokémon first appeared in Pokémon Yellow, with Pikachu following the player. It then appeared in a limited capacity in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl before making a full debut in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Pokemon following behind the trainer has been a much-requested feature that has sadly been absent in the mainline games since. It’s so popular that the feature was added to Pokemon GO and datamining in Pokemon Sun and Moon suggested that the feature was perhaps considered for a return. In Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, you can ride on top of a limited selection of Pokemon or have characters with you.
The feature is something that you unlock as part of the Isle of Armor story. When you first arrive, you’re mistaken for a student and join Mustard’s dojo. You’re sent to complete two easy tasks meant to determine who is worthy of receiving Kubfu, and upon defeating either Avery or Klara, you’ll obtain Kubfu as a partner. Mustard then allows you to have a Pokemon follow you around the Isle of Armor, specifically the Pokemon in the top slot, in order to have Kubfu become better friends with you. Overall, if you don’t dilly-dally too much catching Pokemon in what is essentially a new Wild Area, it should take you within 40 minutes from entry to unlock Kubfu and strolling Pokemon.
— Some numbers guy (@s07195) June 17, 2020
Sadly, the feature is only limited to the Isle of Armor, and the Pokemon running speeds are clearly meant to only match an avatar’s running speed at most. (Riding a bike causes the Pokemon to teleport near you if they’re too far away.) However, from the aforementioned datamining and surprise implementation in the expansion, we can see that Game Freak has been working to bring back this fan favorite feature for a while now. It’s surprisingly detailed too, and will even show shiny Pokemon on the field if your Pokemon is shiny.
Pokemon Sword and Shield is available on the Nintendo Switch. The Isle of Armor expansion is now available.