Back in February, The Pokémon Company surprised us with the reveal of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This upcoming Switch exclusive takes us to Sinnoh’s distant past before there were Pokémon trainers and gyms. Sinnoh’s familiar cities don’t yet exist either, and instead, there’s a vast, open wilderness to explore. It’s a tantalizing concept, but we’ve seen so little! That should change soon, as Game Freak is holding a Pokémon Presents livestream on August 18. With new footage on the way, there’s a lot I’m hoping to see. Here are the top five things I want in the next Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer!
A stable frame rate
The reveal trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus was choppy, to say the least. The entire trailer lacked the polished feel you expect from a well-funded studio, and a few scenes were particularly egregious. At one point, a Chingling floats through the air, bobbing up and down with all the smoothness of a flipbook.
This is Game Freak’s first real attempt at a fully open world, and that’s going to come with some growing pains. Even critically acclaimed masterpieces like Breath of the Wild suffer frame rate drops in busy sections of the open world. I’m not expecting a 60 fps experience or anything, but our next look at the game needs to show that Game Freak is making progress in this area.
Wild Pokémon habitats
Pokémon Legends: Arceus features a very different Sinnoh than the one in Diamond and Pearl. It’s a realm without urbanization, where Pokémon far outnumber humans. We’ve seen a few brief snippets of footage showing Pokémon running free in the open world, but I’m hoping for a lot more depth.
I want to see Pokémon in their natural habitats, not just dumped into a big sandbox. Imagine stumbling upon a group of young Bidoofs (Bidooves?) crossing over a dam while the parent Bibarels keep watch! Or spotting Sudowoodo hiding amongst the trees of the forest. I’m not expecting New Pokémon Snap levels of attention to detail, as that’s an on-rails experience. But Legends: Arceus needs to show us its world is a cut above The Wild Area.
More old-timey tech
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set sometime in the distant past, and the next trailer really needs to lean into that concept with all its might. Game Freak needs to sell us on this different setting, and one way to do that is through technology. We’ve already seen wooden, steam-powered Pokéballs, and I’m hoping that’s just the beginning when it comes to old-timey tech.
If they can shrink Pokémon down and capture them in a ball, what else is possible in this time period? The plot revolves around creating Sinnoh’s first Pokédex, which we haven’t yet seen. Will it just be pen and paper, or is there something more advanced at play? Aside from leaning into the steampunk idea, I’d also like to see Legends: Arceus touch on the idea of Pokémon impacting technology. There are endless possibilities when it comes to harnessing the power of Pokémon, so they surely must have helped kickstart all kinds of advancements.
While most of the world of Pokémon Legends: Arceus is devoid of civilization, the trailer did reveal an exception. An unnamed “certain village” is “bustles with the coming and going of people.” This is where you’ll meet the game’s mysterious professor and choose your partner Pokémon. It’s my hope that it will serve as a base of operations, growing and evolving throughout the game.
Imagine how cool it would be to find ways to integrate Pokémon into your village after catching them! You could build a Pokémon hospital and train the first Chansey nurse or ring in the rain with a Bronzong in a bell tower. Each upgrade to the village could unlock new quests and features, and citizens traveling through Sinnoh could offer a variety of quests. There’s potential for the village to be so much more than just another “starter town.”
Hints about the plot
At this point, we know next to nothing about the plot. We’re on a quest to study and categorize the Pokémon of the Sinnoh Region, creating its first Pokédex… but there’s definitely a lot more going on here. This is a game about Arceus, the God of the Pokémon universe! What kind of legendary events are we stumbling into, and how?
I don’t expect the next Pokémon Legends: Arceus trailer to reveal too much of that, because they need to save some surprises for launch day. But it could touch on some other story elements to tide us over until then. For instance, we haven’t even seen the game’s professor yet! And if this is before Sinnoh was founded, what’s up with the ancient ruins pictured briefly in the last trailer? I’m ready for more teasers!