‘Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ Will Bring An Open-World Pokemon RPG To The Nintendo Switch

Pokemon’s presence on the Nintendo Switch is opening up in a big way as part of a 25th anniversary celebration for the legendary RPG series. The Pokemon Company held a livestream event on Friday detailing new games, including remakes of two handheld classics. But the biggest news is a new open world RPG set in the Sinnoh region well before the events of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.

Before that, though, the event highlighted two remakes of those 2006 GameBoy classics: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Those games, however, will now get a prequel with a slightly different twist. Friday also brought word of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, an open-world RPG

“This is a tale from a long, long time ago. When the Sinnoh region was a vast wilderness,” a narrator says, laying out a less developed human society long before Pokemon trainers and Leagues.

The trailer shows a trainer diving into a thick brush, aiming a Pokeball at a faraway Shinx and throwing it. There are battles and Pokemon in the player’s control, but it’s certainly a departure from more traditional Pokemon games. Sword and Shield, which were released in 2019, introduced the concept of a Wild Area that had Pokemon roaming free that could spark encounters. Arceus appears to be the next evolution of that concept according to the game’s description.

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.

The event also showed off some new Pokemon Snap gameplay on Friday.

That’s a lot of Pokemon, which is great news for fans. But while Snap is expected to hit the Switch in April, we won’t see Arceus until at least 2022.