During Wednesday’s Pokémon Presents showcase, the Pokémon Company showed off the newest trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the open-world Pokémon RPG launching next January for Nintendo Switch. This trailer revealed new Pokémon, characters, and mechanics for the game.
The game takes place in the Hisui Region, a newly-settled region during an ancient time before Pokémon and people lived together. Centuries in the future, this region eventually becomes known as the Sinnoh region. Hisui has some new forms and evolutions of Pokémon who have adapted to its cold climate. The first of these Pokémon shown is Wyrdeer, a Normal and Psychic-type Pokémon that evolves from Stantler in the Hisui region. Wyrdeer are respected by the local people and clothes made from the tufts of fur they shed are highly valued. This Pokémon can be ridden around the wilderness as a way to travel around the world faster.
The next of these new evolutions in the Hisui region is Basculegion, a Water and Ghost-type Pokémon that evolves from Basculin when they are possessed by the souls of other fallen Basculin. These Pokémon can be ridden around the water in Hisui, allowing its trainer to access new areas.
Hisui has its own special Pokémon forms as well, occurring when Pokémon adapt to the harsh climate of the region. Rufflet in Hisui evolve into Hisuian Braviary, a Flying and Psychic-type Pokémon that uses its psychic powers to weaken opponents. Hisuian Bravary can be ridden, allowing trainers access to the skies of Hisui.
The Growlithe of Hisui also look different than modern Growlithe. They are Fire and Rock-type and take on a Foo dog-like appearance with long, curly fur. Unlike modern Growlithe, these Pokémon are not yet used to people and will take a while to begin trusting its trainer.
The player joins the Galaxy Expedition Team, a team dedicated to exploring and documenting the Hisui region, which is based out of Jubilife Village, the predecessor to the modern-day Jubilife City. You join the Survey Corps, a group that study how the Pokémon of the region live, and throughout the game, you will be cataloging Pokémon to create the world’s first-ever Pokédex. Gameplay is in the form of missions that the player receives from other members of the Galaxy Expedition Team, as well as other villagers—usually a request to study a specific Pokémon or behavior.
This trailer also introduces the other members of the Galaxy Expedition Team. The team is led by Commander Kamado, an ancestor of modern Sinnoh’s Professor Rowan. There is also a Pokémon Professor working for the Survey Corps. He is known as Professor Laventon, and his goal is to create a log of the region’s Pokémon. He is also the one who gives the player their first partner Pokémon, which they choose from Pokémon he has met in other regions during his travels. Finally, there is Captain Cyllene, the leader of the Survey Corps division of the Galaxy Expedition Team. Although unconfirmed, she appears to be an ancestor of the modern Team Galactic’s leader, Cyrus.
As shown before, this game is more akin to an open-world RPG. Players explore the region in an open-world setting, and can interact with Pokémon on the map without needing to battle them! All you need to do is get close and throw a Poké Ball. Some Pokémon don’t mind the approach of people, and will be curious about you, but others are skittish or aggressive. Players can sneak through the tall grass in order to approach skittish Pokémon in order to throw a Poké Ball. More aggressive Pokémon, however, will attack the player when approached and may cause them to black out. These Pokémon need to be battled in order to be captured.
Battling a wild Pokémon occurs when the player chooses to throw one of their own Pokémon’s Poké Balls near a wild Pokémon instead of an empty one. When the battle starts, the order the Pokémon take their turns in is determined by speed like in the main Pokémon games, but each Pokémon additionally has an Action Speed that may allow them to attack multiple times in a row. The Action Speed is based on a Pokémon’s speed stat as well as what move it uses in what style. Pokémon in Hisui can use moves in two additional styles—Agile Style, which weakens the move’s power but allows the Pokémon to act again, and Strong Style, which increases the move’s power but lowers your Pokémon’s Action Speed.
The game’s release date was also confirmed in this trailer—January 28, 2022. Players who purchase the game early can receive a Hisuian Growlithe-styled kimono outfit for their player character through Mystery Gift until May 9, 2022.