Pokemon Legends Arceus Could Change The Franchise Forever, But Is It Too Late?
We are on the precipice of something completely unheard of for one of Nintendo's greatest and most lucrative franchises. A Pokemon game is coming out this week, and it might be the series' most creative outing in years.
This is exciting news for the franchise of course, but this game has the freshest ideas that the franchise has seen on a home console since Pokemon Stadium. This is incredible, and Pokemon is long overdue a game like this - but I'm still incredibly nervous.
Discrediting ambition certainly isn't like me, so perhaps this is just the nostalgia in me that I've failed to disconnect from critical thinking talking - but Pokemon Legends: Arceus could change everything for the franchise. And it might already be too late for that.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus Looks Like The Pokemon Game We've Always Wanted
In many ways, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the game that veterans of the series have wanted since the days of Red and Blue. The idea of roaming a huge open landscape, ducking and weaving attacks from Pokemon, engaging in battles in the open and exploring to your heart's content - we've wanted this since the franchise began. It's Pokemon Ranger by way of Breath of the Wild, and it displays an incredible ambition that we've never seen before from the series.
The game is set to introduce a wealth of new features that make the world incredibly immersive - attacks from feral Pokemon in the wild, crafting, brand-new missions in the form of survey requests and so much more. It's hard to consider a game like this a 'spin-off', but then again, its presentation and attitude to development is so far bereft from what we know and love about the series that it's hard to consider it mainline too. There's only one way to approach it - it's the start of what could be a new era for the Pokemon series. Yet, there are nerves that fans could be buried so far in nostalgia that the ambition simply won't stick.
Is It Too Late For Pokemon Legends: Arceus' Innovations?
The short answer is, we can only hope not. Though the standard top-down turn-based stylings that made Pokemon the entertainment giant it is today is still tried and true, and diverting from this method would be, in a way, to step away from the core feature that sets Pokemon apart, it seems as though fans are growing fatigued with the traditional gameplay of the franchise's recent output.
Of course, we'll always love the classics, and we can replay them to death - but Sword and Shield felt like it was almost a bold step into the next generation for the series, Let's Go, Pikachu! And Eevee! were sweet, if a little stiff, and Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl offered practically nothing new in remakes of classics that were overshadowed by a lazy art style.
Nothing that we've seen in recent years with Pokemon have ever felt truly fresh, and Legends: Arceus could be the first game that really brings the franchise around into modernity, ironically despite its feudal setting. Fans, whether they know it or not, are long overdue for some change in the universe of Pokemon, and this is it.
The future of Pokemon is on Legends: Arceus' shoulders now. If this game performs well, and it wins fans over like it has the power to, it could genuinely change the franchise forever. If it doesn't, then Pokemon could recede into predictability all over again, and frankly, more incessant repetition could drastically endanger the future of the games.
The Pokemon Company is at a fork in the road, and it's the fans who will decide their path now. Pokemon Legends: Arceus could dictate the future of Pokemon, and in its success, it could bring a whole new era of the franchise. So, you know, no pressure.