At a special live-streamed event today, The Pokémon Company revealed something fans having been waiting a long time for: an open-world Pokémon adventure. The next major entry in the franchise will be called Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and it looks to be a huge evolution of the long-running RPG formula. The developers describe it as a “pre-make,” which offers “a new challenge and a new frontier for the Pokémon world.”
The story takes place in the Sinnoh region, at a period that appears to be long before other Pokémon games, and will include a number of iconic monsters like Piplup, with your choice of starters including Rowlet, Oshawott, and Cyndaquil. It’s expected to launch worldwide on the Switch in early 2022.
Here’s the basic premise:
As trainers explore the natural expanses in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, they’ll encounter pokémon that call these grand vistas home. To catch wild pokémon, players can study the pokémon’s behaviors, sneak up to them, then throw poké balls. Players can also battle wild Pokémon with their ally pokémon. By throwing the poké ball holding their ally pokémon near a wild pokémon, players will seamlessly enter battle. This new gameplay angle is intended to provide trainers with an immersive experience.
At the same event, the company also revealed upcoming remakes of classics Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, which will also be coming to the Switch.
The last major Pokémon release was Sword and Shield on the Switch, which debuted in 2019 and was followed by several expansions. Those games also introduced an open-world-like region called the Wild Area, hinting at this next evolution. Also on the way is a League of Legends-style multiplayer game, called Pokémon Unite, which is going into open beta in March (in Canada, at least), as well as a new version of the beloved Pokémon Snap.
Today’s announcement comes as part of a 25th anniversary celebration for the franchise. Outside of new games, The Pokémon Company is also hosting a virtual concert on February 27th — headlined by Post Malone.