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Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Who is Arceus in Pokemon lore?

Pokemon Legends Arceus
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon Legends Arceus promises to take us to the Hisui region, later known as Sinnoh. Taking place long before the days of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, we'll be journeying back in time to a period where it was rare for people to be with Pokemon. First revealed back in February this year, we've since learned more about the upcoming adventure that will blend new RPG elements with the classic features we've come to know so well. But there are still some questions that have yet to be answered about the story, and there's also a lot of mystery surrounding Arceus itself. So just who is Arceus in Pokemon lore? And how will this mythical Pokemon factor into our adventures?  We've gathered together everything you need to know about who Arceus is in Pokemon lore, including interesting facts that might tell us more about its role in the game. 

Arceus - The basics

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

To begin with, it makes sense to start with some basic facts about Arceus. Known as an Alpha Pokemon, Arceus is a Normal-type who's said to weigh 320kg, with a height of 3.2m. While it is a Normal-type, Arceus has the ability to change up its type when holding a certain plate item in the game. It's also currently the only Pokemon who can naturally learn the damaging move, Judgment.

 When was Arceus first introduced in Pokemon? 

Pokemon

(Image credit: Team Kato)

Arceus was first introduced in Gen 4 in the Sinnoh region. While it wasn't officially revealed by Nintendo, the Pokemon could be found in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl in the Hall of Origin using the Azure Flute, which was an event-exclusive key item that didn't get officially distributed. Despite this, players have still managed to work out how to obtain the item all these years later, and you can see the successful capture of Arceus on YouTube. You have to wonder if we'll be able to encounter Arceus in the upcoming remakes Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Arceus went on to appear in games such as Pokemon: Conquest, and also played a key role in the 2009 animated movie, Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life. 

What can the Arceus Pokedex entries tell us? 

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Pokedex entries (via Serebii.net) in previous games allude to the role of Arceus in Pokemon mythology and legend and paint the picture of a very ancient Pokemon who appears to be tied to the origin of the Sinnoh region and perhaps even the universe as a whole. In Pokemon Diamond, the Pokedex entry reads that "it is described in mythology as the Pokemon that shaped the universe with its 1,000 arms", while Pokemon Pearl states that, "It is told in mythology that this Pokemon was born before the universe even existed". Pokedex entries in games following Diamond and Pearl also allude to something similar, with Sinnoh legends saying that Arceus emerged from an "egg" to shape all there is in the world. 

Arceus' role in Pokemon Legends Arceus 

Pokemon Legends Arceus

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

The legends surrounding Arceus undoubtedly make it one very interesting Pokemon who clearly plays a big role in the history of the Pokemon world. Alongside the Pokedex entries, the official Pokemon Legends: Arceus website also mentions that "Arceus is said to have shaped all there is in this world," and poses the question: "Just how is this mighty Pokemon connected to your journey?". How indeed. As revealed on the official Pokemon Legends website, Arceus holds "the key" to the tale of the game, and is said to "have shaped all there is in this world". It's clear this Pokemon has a very big role in this new journey we'll be setting out on in 2022.

We know that Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set in the Sinnoh region in a "long-gone era, before ideas such as being a Pokemon trainer or having a Pokemon league even existed." Our role will be to create the region's very first Pokedex by exploring Sinnoh, studying Pokemon behaviors, and capturing them using wooden Pokeballs. Given the setting and the "key" role of Arceus, Pokemon Legends could finally reveal more about the origin of the region and shed more light on just how Arceus "shaped all there is in this world." 

Pokemon Legends: Arceus looks to be the open-world evolution we've always dreamt of.

Heather Wald
Heather Wald

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.