The 25th anniversary Pokémon Presents video announced the newest Pokémon project from Game Freak— Pokémon Legends Arceus, the first full open-world Pokémon adventure. This project is being worked on by the main Game Freak team while ILCA Inc handles the Diamond and Pearl remakes also announced during the Presents.
Going along with the Sinnoh remakes releasing this year, Pokémon Legends Arceus is set in the Sinnoh region of old, featuring different Pokémon like wild Spheal and Piplup. This is also the first Pokémon game to have a unique pool of starters—Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott, which have all been brought to the newly discovered Sinnoh region by a professor interested in studying the new land. Players start in the only established village in the region, and explore the uncharted expanses with their Pokémon.
This ancient Sinnoh region is heavily inspired by ancient Hokkaido and the indigenous Ainu people that settled it. The new wild Pokémon, like Spheal, are more in-line with wildlife found in the Hokkaido region. The outfits for the protagonists are also based off traditional Ainu dress, with the starter Pokémon being ones based off animals sacred to their people.
Arceus is the featured legendary in Legends (obviously), which is the first time Arceus will see a real story spotlight since its release. Arceus was locked to an unreleased event in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, that could only be accessed with the use of a cheating device. It will be nice to finally see the ‘god of all Pokémon’ get a fully playable myth.
The gameplay of Legends is a greatly advanced version of the Wild Area in Sword and Shield—a fully open-world map with a dynamic camera and Pokémon wandering around on the overworld. A brand-new feature lets players sneak up on wild Pokémon in the overworld and throw a Poké Ball at them without battling. You can choose to battle the wild Pokémon, of course, but it is now no longer a necessary step.
Pokémon Legends Arceus will be releasing for the Nintendo Switch in early 2022. There has been no word on its compatibility with games like Pokémon Home or Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.