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Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Everything we know so far

Pokemon Legends Arceus
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the next new Pokemon adventure, but it's doing things a little differently from those we've experienced so far. Rather than following on from Pokemon Sword and Shield, we're going back in time to an era before anything we've played before in Pokemon history. And Pokemon Legends: Arceus is also taking a leaf from the Zelda: Breath of the Wild playbook too, offering up an open world for trainers to explore in what should be the Pokemon game we've all been dreaming of since we were kids. 

"Pokemon Legends: Arceus represents a new approach for the Pokemon video game series," says Takato Utsunomiya, chief operating officer of The Pokemon Company. "Development is in full swing at Game Freak, with the aim to deliver a gaming experience that delivers new ground for the Pokemon series."

Below we're going to round-up everything we know so far about Pokemon Legends: Arceus, including trailers, release date, gameplay details, starter Pokemon, and more.

What is Pokemon Legends: Arceus?

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the next big Pokemon adventure - another main entry in the series, after the last Pokemon Sword and Shield. However, the fandom is especially excited about this one because, to quote The Pokemon Company, it's a "bold new direction" for the franchise, which aims to "honor past Pokemon games' core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements". 

Take a look at the first Pokemon Legends: Arceus trailer above, which gives you a good overview of just how different the game looks - and will hopefully feel - from the previous games. 

This is basically Breath of the Wild - open world, exploration driven - but based in the lore and worlds of Pokemon. Well, the Sinnoh region specifically, which was originally the setting for Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, and will be also revisited in the upcoming Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes. 

When is the Pokemon Legends: Arceus release date?

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

The Pokemon Legends: Arceus release date is currently set for a loose 'early 2022'. While nothing more specific has been announced, we know it will be a Switch exclusive. 

What is the Pokemon Legends: Arceus story?

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

The Pokemon Legends: Arceus story is taking us way back to before any Pokemon games to date. We'll be exploring the Sinnoh region - the locale for the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl / Gen 4 games - but at a period in Pokemon history that developer Game Freak describes as a "long-gone era". 

The first trailer for the game states that this is "a tale from a long, long time ago, when the Sinnoh region was still only a vast wilderness

In fact, it goes as far as to say that the Pokemon Legends: Arceus story is set "before ideas such as being a Pokemon Trainer or having a Pokemon League even existed". 

This could mean that the traditional Pokemon storyline that comes with the aim of being the very best, the best there ever was, is abandoned for Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Instead, your goal is to create and complete the very first ever Sinnoh Pokedex. 

This will mean discovering and observing every single Pokemon in the Sinnoh region to build out that Pokemon Legends: Arceus Pokedex, which may well include learning their behaviors and more to really build out each entry. 

What will Pokemon Legends: Arceus gameplay be like?

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

To complement your task of building the very first Sinnoh Pokedex, the Pokemon Legends: Arceus gameplay has been seemingly completely overhauled too. Whilst you'll still be catching and battling Pokemon, Arceus is moving to an open-world structure that basically turns the Wild Area of Pokemon Sword and Shield into a full game - consider that your teaser. 

Game Freak has said that Pokemon Legends: Arceus "represents a new approach for the series", and it's clear from the very first trailer that this is quite the, ahem, evolution. 

You'll be able to observe Pokemon in their natural habitats, learning more about them. But you'll also able to catch them simply by sneaking up and throwing a Pokeball at them. No more blinding running about in the long grass and waiting for the battle to begin. 

Battling will also be as simple as reaching for the Pokeball of one of your team near a wild Pokemon to seamlessly enter battle. From here, Pokemon battles will be much more familiar, but it's this way of interacting that will, hopefully, feel a lot more natural and realistic. 

As yet, we've not seen any trainer vs trainer battles in the game, so that will be interesting to learn more about as we get closer to the game's release date. 

Is Pokemon Legends: Arceus open world?

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

From everything we've seen so far, this is an open-world game, even though technically Game Freak hasn't officially used the phrase to describe the game. But, you should certainly expect to see this being much closer to the experience offered in Breath of the Wild - lots of landscapes to explore, and potentially fairly minimal urban/settled areas. After all, this is a game set long before the events of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, with the Sinnoh region itself based on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, meaning there's plenty of history both within the game lore and its source material to explore. 

You should expect the Pokemon Legends: Arceus open world to offer a variety of terrain types though, with the reveal trailer mentioning mountains and seas - the mountain of course being Mount Coronet, which has always been the center of the Sinnoh region. 

Game Freak promises that "this is a Sinnoh unlike anything Trainers have experienced before as they embark to create the region’s first Pokédex". 

Who are the Pokemon Legends: Arceus Starter Pokemon?

Pokemon Legends Arceus starters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

In another bold choice, Game Freak is also doing something different when it comes to the starter choices for Arceus. All of the Pokemon Legends: Arceus Starters are from different generations for the first time ever. We've got Cyndaquil from Gen 2, Oshawott from Gen 5, and Rowlet from Gen 7. 

The official Game Freak line is that each of these arrived with the as-yet unnamed Pokemon Professor, who encountered them on research excursions to various other regions outside of Sinnoh. But rumors are already flying around that they're connected by the Japanese origins of the Sinnoh region itself. 

But we're all team Cyndaquil, right?

Who is Arceus, anyway?

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

And finally, there's the titular Arceus itself. If you're wondering who is Arceus in Pokemon, well it's safe to say it's very important indeed. It's said to have shaped all there is in the world, and it's clearly going to have quite an important role to play in this new game. This Normal-Type Pokemon was first introduced during Gen 4, and could be found in Diamond and Pearl by playing the Azure Flute in the Hall of Origin. 

However, because that wasn't an item that could be found in the game organically, but rather was released as an event-exclusive item, players have been on quite the journey to actually get the Mythical beast in their games at the time. In fact, it wasn't even officially recognized by Nintendo until 2009 when its debut movie arrived. 

It was then known as "The Original One", and is even thought to be the Pokemon that created the Sinnoh region, if not the Pokemon universe itself, including a whole host of other mythical Pokemon such as the lake guardians and the creation trio. 

We can't wait to learn more about this Mythical Pokemon in Pokemon Legends: Arceus when it arrives in early 2022. 

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