Pokemon can now follow you in the newly released Isle of Armor DLC for Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield.
Joe Merrick, the man behind Pokemon resource Serebii, confirmed that Pokemon can follow behind you while you’re in the Wild Area after you reach a certain point in the progression of the DLC.
At what point do you unlock the feature? According to Dot Esports, you unlock this ability after you obtain Kubfu from Mustard in the final dojo trial. He will tell you that the first Pokemon in your party will go on a stroll with you. There’s also no restrictions on who can follow you; even the massive Wailord will be right behind you.
It also seems like the feature is restricted to just the Wild Area of the Isle of Armor.
The feature of having Pokemon follow you in the overworld, or “walking Pokemon,” has been a recurring feature in the core Pokemon games ever since Pokemon Yellow on the Game Boy, according to Bulbapedia. While it’s by no means a standard feature, it is none the less a popular one and has been implemented in many games, most notably Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver; Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee; and even the popular mobile spinoff Pokemon GO.