Back at a rather disappointing Nintendo Direct in February 2021, Nintendo pulled a sneaky one at the last moment and changed the tone of the whole conference with Pokemon Arceus Legends. Tagged as "A familiar region, a new story," Pokemon Arceus Legends is an open-world Pokemon game that’s set in a feudal version of the Sinnoh region from Gen IV.
We know for sure that the world is set in tantalizing new era with major changes to the gameplay.
First and foremost, unlike all other Pokemon games that are set in the modern time, Pokemon Arceus Legend is set in a 'time long gone' of feudal Sinnoh, so you can expect some steam-punk Pokeballs and other rustic elements. You'll have to observe and sneak around the Pokemon in order to catch them. Rumour has it that the game bids adieu to turn-based combat in the open world. Fans are anticipating that the fact that you can roll (as shown in the trailer) implies that wild Pokemon will attack you.
While previous Pokemon games had a semi-open world environment and the option to choose between a male or a female player, they never really felt free or open. This was a problem that plagued literally all the Pokemon games since the days of Pokemon Red and Green, the first Pokemon game. The graphics improved, the battle improved and so did the features, but the core gameplay was the same for over two decades. Not to say that it wasn't fun, we're just implying that it wasn't innovative.
Pokemon Arceus Legends aims to change all that. The upcoming game plans to retain the core gameplay that we've come to love over decades while infusing action and RPG elements. Basically, think of it as a Pokemon game set in a world akin to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Pokemon Arceus Legends will bring a much needed fresh gust of air for the long-running series and thus serves as a crucial game for Nintendo as an organization.
You see, when it comes to making new games, Nintendo plays it safe. Out of the top 25 best selling games on Nintendo Switch, only three of them were new IPs. Splatoon 2 on number 9, Ring Fit number 11, 1-2 Switch on number 19, the latter two are basically just elaborate tech demos for Switch, but since they're on the sales record, we thought we'd mention them.
If there's one thing we can conclude from that record, it's that Nintendo doesn't like to take risks with new IPs. Instead, they've already got established long-running IPs such as Mario, Pokemon and Zelda that they refresh from time to time. Playing on nostalgia is a great strategy for reaching out to returning customers, but a company must acquire new customers to stay in the completion.
For someone like me who was born and raised in an era dominated by PS2 and PSP, I found it quite difficult to be hyped about new Nintendo games since I wasn't in that system, to begin with. Truth be told, I never really played a Pokemon game since I felt like an outcast. However, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was an outlier. Nintendo took an established IP but completely revamped it to allow both returning and new players to join in the fun.
Similarly, Pokemon Arceus Legends will take an already established and recognised IP and turn it into something that is fresh enough for new players to hop into but, at the same time, enough to appeal to the existing fanbase.
As I said previously, Nintendo as a company likes to play it safe, yet revamped games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the upcoming Pokemon Arceus Legends are their 'risky' projects to tap into newer markets. Hence, it's a matter of almost importance for Pokemon Arceus Legends to be a hit