The mainline Pokémon series has always been pushing itself forward in story, graphics and the amount of Pokémon. It’s just what happens when progressing. But the recent announcement of Pokémon Legends Arceus is set to expand the world and lore by going backwards. The Legends Arceus will take place in the past, something many players have wondered about in Pokémon, so we’re finally getting a chance to experience that. This list is made up of features or moments we are hoping to learn more about in the Pokémon of old.
In traditional titles, trainers set out on predetermined routes as they traverse the region. We are hoping for a more explorative approach in Legends Arceus and a fully open-world environment. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield met us half-way with the introduction of the Wild Area, a vast space of various habitats and Pokémon. This is a good starting place for what we hope to see. Set in a time with no automobiles or possibly bicycles, there wouldn’t be paved roads and streets for travelers. Trainers would have to carve out their own paths if they hope to capture all the Pokémon in Sinnoh and that means being able to go wherever is necessary. Even if that means being able to climb over rocks in a cave or dive a little underwater. Allowing players more adventurous freedom is a perfect way of giving us the sense of this ancient wide open world.
Speaking of not being able to use bikes, a staple item since the beginning of the series, we’re going to need a faster way of getting around the region. That’s where Pokémon and human interactions play a vital role. In gen 6 and gen 7 we got to ride Pokémon around to travel quickly and complete tasks. In locations already making use of vehicles, this feature will have to come back for Legends Arceus. Flying around on a Drifblim or surfing with Bibarel makes a lot of sense with this game’s timeframe. But Pokémon shouldn’t only be for transportation. Bronzong can help summon rain for a quest or Tangrowth could reach something high in a tree. Just like the real world where domesticated animals helped develop towns, Pokémon would act in much the same way. It will give some lesser-used or forgotten Pokémon more value. Finding niche moments for many of them would create a stronger bond between Pokémon and humans.
With every generation and region comes new Pokémon to catch, train and battle. But it’ll be different for Pokémon Legends Arceus since it’s the first game we’re actually getting to revisit an old region in a new way. All the Sinnoh Pokémon would be there, most likely but there is still room for a handful of new Pokémon to appear. In reality, many species of animals have gone extinct within recorded history such as passenger pigeons, the great auk, thylacine and more. The same could be true for the world of Pokémon and with this being a Sinnoh region of the past, the likelihood of extinct Pokémon is possible. This doesn’t mean they are fossilized either though new discoveries are made everyday; who knows what has been lost within the walls of Mt. Coronet. If no new Pokémon are introduced in the game there could be Sinnoh variants of others or possibly more recent Pokémon (Alola or Galar) that lived here hundreds of years and have since migrated. Basing this example off real animal behaviors and range of habitats makes sense. Again, not hundreds of new Pokémon, but a dozen or less would make the game and history of Pokémon even more intriguing.
Connections to Games
When old characters started showing up or referencing other places within Pokémon, we began seeing an expansive world take shape. We hope this trend continues in Legends Arceus because there’s good potential. There’s mention of a “certain” professor who brings Rowlet, Cyndaquil and Oshawott to Sinnoh. Perhaps this could be an ancestor to Professor Oak (since he was the first), Professor Rowan (since he’s the one in Diamond & Pearl) or even a relative of another character like Cynthia (since she’s the Pokémon League Champion). Whoever it may be could offer up knowledge on other regions and their travels. The Poké Balls shown in the trailer look to be made of natural materials such as wood. Players of Gold & Silver will remember Kurt making balls out of apricorns, which sounds like a logical precursor to the modern Poké Ball, and perhaps this game brings that feature back. Then there’s the town shown in the video with traditional Japanese architecture which seems like an important location. Perhaps this is a look at Celestic Town from the past. Sprites of the homes from Diamond & Pearl match up close enough to be similar. An ancient shrine is at the center of town and you find images of the Lake Guardians which Arceus is said to have created. Its slogan is “The Past Lives,” which gives a nod to this game’s setting of the past. There’s plenty of speculative connection made to other games from these short clips and it’ll be cool to see how deep they go.
It’s probably safe to say any time Pokémon announces something new is coming the immediate audience reaction is a new generation. If you’ve seen people watching the reveal of Pokémon Legends Arceus, many first thoughts went to the reveal of gen 9 when the following text appeared, “Pokémon series enters a new era.” Luckily, there’s no rush of a next generation and Legends Arceus’s setting of the past makes for an exciting reveal. We’re hoping this is the first of many in a new line of Legends to delve deeper into the history, lore and exploration of Pokémon from previous centuries. Getting to adventure through the old days is a dream come true for many fans. So it would make sense (after seeing how well Arceus may do) for the Legends to continue. Let’s see Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza clash in the prehistoric ages. Learn more about Celebi’s time traveling abilities. Find out how wars mentioned by Lt. Surge and AZ started developing, and how Pokémon played a role. Some of the Pokémon movies have been delivering on these concepts but aren’t ever canon with the games. Pokémon Legends as a new series could fill in many gaps from the past.
Pokémon fans are getting excited with the reveal of Pokémon Legends Arceus and all the features to come. Something like this has been well overdue. Share some of your hopes and dreams for this upcoming title or Pokémon as a whole.