It’s only been about a month since Pokémon Legends Arceus hit the Nintendo Switch, but it’s been extremely clear both critically (mostly) and commercially that Game Freak’s evolution of their iconic monster fighting franchise is something fans want to see more of. While you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that there could’ve been a chance for DLC, something recent entries have dug into, Nintendo has other plans and is already looking to the immediate future.
During their Pokémon Day livestream earlier this morning, Nintendo ended with a look at Gen 9 of the main series, titled Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Watching the trailer and seeing the scope of this brand new region really throws into perspective how much Legends Arceus was a bit of a (well received!) beta test for the next pair of mainline games. Seeing Pokémon look just a little more lively in the world counts for a lot, even in these brief glimpses, and it looks like human NPCs may be able to get near some out in the cities (and hopefully have their own kinds of interactions with them).
While Arceus’ loop of filling out the first Pokédex served as the core loop for that particular game, exploring the Hisui Region could leave a bit to be desired. Returning to the standard “go to gym, get badge” formula for Violet and Scarlet may provide a stronger structure to Arceus’ foundation, one that will hopefully mirror the feeling of bigness that the anime has usually managed to convey better than the games themselves. Hopefully, the non-combat offerings that Arceus provided return as well, if only because Arceus has done a solid job of having players rethink their connections with the monsters who could undoubtedly kick their arse.
It was a foregone conclusion that Gen 9 was going to happen, but given that Arceus has only been out for a full month, it does feel like it’s a little too soon to be announcing this new generation to get fans excited. The criticism that’s been thrown Arceus’ way, like the graphics and more visual variety, are almost certainly being addressed. But given that the franchise has suffered in the past for being annual, it may also have done Game Freak some good to let things settle before embarking on a brand new adventure.
Pokémon Violet and Scarlet will arrive on the Nintendo Switch later this year.