Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Everything We Know

Here are all the biggest details we know so far about Switch's expansive new Pokemon game.

1 Comments

Nintendo Switch's library of Pokemon games continues to grow, with a new title kicking off the 2022 launch calendar to follow Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, released in late 2021. The next game in the franchise, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, is a new kind of Pokemon adventure from series creator Game Freak, and it looks to be the most radical departure the franchise has taken in years.

Billed as a "new approach for the Pokemon video game series," Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set in ancient Sinnoh and appears to take some inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Pokemon Company revealed the title during the Pokemon Presents event back in February 2021, giving us our first look at its expansive setting and real-time gameplay elements.

Although the title is still a little while away, here's everything we know so far about Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

When does Pokemon Legends: Arceus launch?

Pokemon Legends: Arceus launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on January 28.

Trailers

We got our first look at Pokemon Legends: Arceus during the February 2021 Pokemon Presents broadcast. The reveal trailer focused primarily on the game's expansive environments, showcasing the rolling hills and vast fields that make up the Sinnoh region. It also offered a glimpse at the battle system. In a departure from previous Pokemon games, Pokemon Legends: Arceus doesn't transition to a separate battle scene when you encounter a wild Pokemon; rather, you can throw a Poke Ball at the monster in real-time to catch it or initiate a battle by sending one of your own Pokemon out into the field near it.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

The Pokemon Company shared another trailer for Pokemon Legends: Arceus during its August Pokemon Presents stream. This one offered a deeper look at Hisui, the region that would eventually become known as Sinnoh, as well as a number of new and returning Pokemon. The trailer also introduced a handful of major characters you'll encounter on your journey, including members of the Galaxy Expedition Team for whom you are working.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

In October, The Pokemon Company released a spooky found footage-style trailer that seems to introduce a new Pokemon. The video follows a Pokemon researcher as they explore the Hisui region, before they meet--and are attacked by--an "adorable" yellow-eyed Pokemon. It's tough to know exactly what to make of the trailer, but it does add some mystery to Arceus as we approach its launch. Check it out below.

Story details

Unlike Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon Legends takes place in the distant past, when Sinnoh was still known as Hisui. This era is "before ideas such as being a Pokemon trainer or having a Pokemon League even existed," and as part of your adventure, you'll travel around the region catching Pokemon to create its first Pokedex.

Rather than choosing between Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup at the start of your adventure, as in Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon Legends features an entirely different lineup of starters: Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott. According to The Pokemon Company, these Pokemon were brought to Hisui "by a certain Professor who encountered them while traveling around various regions." There is a subtle link between these three starters that fits the feudal theme running throughout the game and its story.

Also playing a prominent role in the story is the Mythical Pokemon Arceus. In Pokemon lore, Arceus is said to have "shaped all there is in this world," making it the Pokemon equivalent of a creator deity. It's unclear how Arceus fits into the game, but The Pokemon Company teases that it "holds the key to this tale."

Gameplay details

According to The Pokemon Company, Pokemon Legends: Arceus "represents a new approach for the Pokemon video game series," blending the series' traditional RPG mechanics with some real-time elements to create a new action-RPG experience. The adventure unfolds across a vast, open setting that evokes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in its scope and visual style.

As in the Wild Areas in Pokemon Sword and Shield, wild Pokemon can be seen roaming about the environments in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. You can catch these monsters by observing them and throwing a Poke Ball in real-time. You can also initiate a battle with a wild Pokemon by manually calling one of your own partner Pokemon out near them. Once your Pokemon is in the field, you can select from its four attacks, much like in previous Pokemon games.

Catching a wild Shinx
Catching a wild Shinx

According to The Pokemon Company, Pokemon Legends: Arceus "represents a new approach for the Pokemon video game series," blending the series' traditional RPG mechanics with some real-time elements to create a new action-RPG experience. The adventure unfolds across a vast setting that evokes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in its scope and visual style.

As in the Wild Areas in Pokemon Sword and Shield, wild Pokemon can be seen roaming about the environments in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. You can catch these monsters by observing them and throwing a Poke Ball in real-time. You can also initiate a battle with a wild Pokemon by manually calling one of your own partner Pokemon out near them. Once your Pokemon is in the field, you can select from its four attacks, much like in previous Pokemon games.

Despite the larger scope and setting, though, The Pokemon Company confirmed the game is not a fully open world. Instead, it sounds more akin to something like the Monster Hunter series. Players will start in Jubilife Village, the game's home base, where they can accept missions that then take them out into specific, but more open, sections of the game world.

"In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Jubilife Village will serve as the base for surveying missions," The Pokemon Company said in a statement to Kotaku. "After receiving an assignment or a request and preparing for their next excursion, players will set out from the village to study one of the various open areas of the Hisui region. After they finish the survey work, players will need to return once more to prepare for their next task. We look forward to sharing more information about exploring the Hisui region soon."

It sounds like you'll spend a lot of time in Jubilife Village, returning there between missions to take care of your Pokemon, shop, and take care of other business. You can craft items in the village, customize your trainer, take photos with your monsters, and organize your Pokemon in various pastures, which serve as the game's low-tech version of the Pokemon Storage System.

Though a lot of gameplay details are still somewhat thin, we have learned a bit about the characters you'll encounter in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. That includes Cyrus, the leader of the seemingly villainous Team Galactic, and a few gym leaders. Check out the trailer below.

Hisui also includes two rival clans you'll interact with as you explore the region. The Diamond and Pearl clans both seem to look after the Pokemon of the region, but they have differing views about how they go about doing that, and about the deity Sinnoh. From the sounds of things, each clan's membership includes Pokemon "wardens," who will essentially act as gym leaders for you to take on. In addition to the two clans, there's also the Gingko Guild, a group of traveling merchants who serve as precursors to the Pokemon Markets you can usually find in the main Pokemon series games. You'll be visiting the merchants a lot to purchase items such as berries and crafting materials.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Confirmed Pokemon

The Pokemon Company hasn't confirmed how many Pokemon will be available in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, but we got a glimpse at a variety of monsters in the game's reveal trailer. Pokemon denoted in bold could be seen in the video, while the others are evolutions or pre-evolutions that can be inferred will be in the game.

  • Abomasnow
  • Abra
  • Aipom
  • Basculegion
  • Basculin
  • Beautifly
  • Bonsly
  • Bronzor
  • Buizel
  • Buneary
  • Carnivine
  • Chatot
  • Clefairy
  • Combee
  • Croagunk
  • Crobat
  • Drapion
  • Eevee
  • Floatzel
  • Froslass
  • Gastrodon
  • Geodude
  • Glalie
  • Gliscor
  • Graveler
  • Gyrados
  • Heracross
  • Hisuian Braviary
  • Hisuian Voltorb
  • Hisuian Growlithe
  • Hisuian Zorua
  • Hisuian Zoroark
  • Honchkrow
  • Machoke
  • Magikarp
  • Magmortar
  • Magneton
  • Mantyke
  • Mr. Mime
  • Munchlax
  • Pachirisu
  • Piloswine
  • Ponyta
  • Probopass
  • Psyduck
  • Purugly
  • Rufflet
  • Shellos
  • Rowlet
  • Dartrix
  • Decidueye
  • Cyndaquil
  • Quilava
  • Typhlosion
  • Oshawott
  • Dewott
  • Samurott
  • Turtwig
  • Grotle
  • Torterra
  • Chimchar
  • Monferno
  • Infernape
  • Piplup
  • Prinplup
  • Empoleon
  • Pichu
  • Pikachu
  • Raichu
  • Rhyhorn
  • Rhydon
  • Rhyperior
  • Ralts
  • Kirlia
  • Gardevoir
  • Gallade
  • Spheal
  • Sealeo
  • Walrein
  • Chingling
  • Chimecho
  • Bidoof
  • Bibarel
  • Starly
  • Staravia
  • Staraptor
  • Shinx
  • Skuntank
  • Snorlax
  • Snorunt
  • Stantler
  • Stunky
  • Swinub
  • Tangrowth
  • Teddiursa
  • Toxicroak
  • Ursaring
  • Wurmple
  • Wyrdeer
  • Zubat
  • Luxio
  • Luxray
  • Budew
  • Roselia
  • Roserade
  • Riolu
  • Lucario
  • Gible
  • Gabite
  • Garchomp
  • Darkrai
  • Kleavor
  • Arceus

New Pokemon

In addition to the returning monsters, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is introducing a handful of brand-new Pokemon to the series. We got a look at a couple of these during August's Pokemon Presents stream, including two new regional evolutions: Wyrdeer and Basculegion.

Wyrdeer
Wyrdeer

Wyrdeer is a Hisui-exclusive evolved form of Stantler. Unlike its previous form, it's a Normal/Psychic type that's said to be treasured by people of the region. In battle, Wyrdeer can unleash psychic energy from the orbs in its antlers.

Basculegion
Basculegion

Basculegion, meanwhile, is the Hisui-exclusive evolution of Basculin. It's a Water/Ghost type with a tragic backstory; according to Pokemon lore, Basculegion is possessed by the souls of fallen Basculin from its school.

On top of the new additions, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is introducing a handful of new regional variants of some existing monsters, including Growlithe and Braviary. Hisuian Growlithe is a Fire/Rock type that travels in pairs and is highly protective of its territory. Hisuian Braviary, meanwhile, is a Psychic/Flying type that's able to emit powerful shock waves using its psychic powers.

Hisuian Growlithe
Hisuian Growlithe

A trailer also introduced new Ghost forms of Zorua and its evolution, Zoroark. Some of the Dark-type fox Pokemon migrated to the Hisuian region where the game takes place, but subsequently all died, and have been reborn as Ghost/Normal-types "using the power of spite." The creatures are known to create mimicries and illusions, striking fear into those who encounter them out in the wild.

Check out the trailer introducing the ghostly Zorua and Zoroark below.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

There are also a handful of new Hisuian versions of known Pokemon, which not only change up the looks of those Pokemon, but also seem to alter their elemental types. A trailer showing off the Hisuian version of Voltorb is a good demonstration, which swaps the Pokemon's usual Electric type for a hybrid of Grass and Electric types. It also has a wood finish.

Finally, Pokemon Legends adds a new type of Pokemon to the world. "Noble" Pokemon aren't unique, as legendary Pokemon are; instead, they're larger, stronger versions of the regular Pokemon you might find in a region, adding some new variations to the fights you might have grown used to as you play through Pokemon Legends. Check out the Pokemon nobles in action in the trailer below.

Pokemon Home support

It turns out that Pokemon Legends: Arceus will support Pokemon Home, Nintendo's cloud-based service that allows you to access your Pokemon from different devices to transfer them between games, organize them, or trade them. We don't know the extent of what you'll be able to do with them, however--Nintendo hasn't said what, if any, games will be compatible for transferring Pokemon into or out of Pokemon Legends, for instance.

Digital goodies for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl owners

Pokemon fans who picked up the Switch remakes of Diamond and Pearl that released in November 2021 get some added benefits in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. As Nintendo tweeted, owning both games will allow you to unlock special in-game Team Galactic outfits, as well as earn you "a chance to add Darkrai to your team."

Preorder Details

Although it's still several months away from release, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is already available to preorder at retailers and on the Nintendo eShop. Those who purchase the game either physically or digitally before May 9, 2022 will be able to receive a Hisuian Growlithe Kimono Set for their trainer. Purchasing the game digitally from the eShop by the aforementioned date will net you another bonus: 30 in-game Heavy Balls.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 1 comments about this story