Pokémon Legends: Arceus creates a new vision of the future for the long-running franchise, introducing a wealth of new ideas while retaining the core mechanics and lore fans know and love. The naming convention of Legends certainly makes the game seem like it might be the start of a new sub-series, and all the gameplay changes reinforce that even more. There’s limitless potential for Game Freak at this point, but the series could really come into its own by embracing a dark twist — and transporting players to the future.
Legends: Arceus’ setting and story is the star of the show. The Hisui region feels vibrant and distinct from anything we’ve seen in the series before, and the Pokémon themselves are treated more as deities and creatures than companions. Without getting too deep into spoiler territory, the game’s opening infers — through your modern clothes and lack of knowledge — that your character has somehow traveled through time to Hisui, with the help of the godlike Pokémon Arceus.
Revisiting this time-travel framework would allow Game Freak to explore future time periods in potential follow-up games, which is something the series hasn’t really done before. We’ve seen plenty of contemporary settings and the past has been explored in games like Pokémon Conquest and now Legends: Arceus. It’d be absolutely fascinating to see a Pokémon world set in the far future, showing how the creatures are integrated into a world filled with wondrous technology.
If there are to be any more “Legends” games, it seems likely that they’ll each revolve around a specific mythic Pokémon, and what better way to move forward than by bringing back the most legendary Pokémon there is, Mew.
Like Arceus called you to the past to help Hisui, Mew could summon players to the far future, and take inspiration from some of the earliest Pokémon stories, like Mewtwo Strikes Back. Maybe in the far future, Mewtwo wasn’t calmed after breaking out of his lab, and Mew needs the help of a trainer to save the world from being destroyed by the rampaging experiment. This could create whole new opportunities to fight Pokémon, or even people, who are being controlled by the psychic powers of Mewtwo.
It would also be a brilliant way to return to the first Pokémon game’s setting and put a dark twist on the Kanto region. Legends: Arceus features a wealth of characters that are ancestors to those in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, and a hypothetical Legends: Mew game could do something similar. It would also give players the chance to meet the descendants of characters like Lt. Surge, Brock, and even Professor Oak.
All of this could tie back to Legends: Arceus as well. Both Mew and Arceus have Pokedex entries that purport them as the first Pokémon to exist, and a Mew-focused game could develop this idea even further. Arceus is seen as a god-like Pokémon, and Mew is one of the only others that could fit that bill.
While there are plenty of story opportunities, a futuristic Legends game also provides plenty of options for new gameplay elements as well. Game Freak could double down on a denser open world, rather than a larger one.
Think of something like the Yakuza series, with a more contained city that feels alive and focuses on weird and quirky characters. The setting could also allow further development on the more action-focused combat of Legends: Arceus, intertwining that with future technology.
Pokémon Sword and Shield proved that the typical formula for Pokémon games is starting to wear a bit thin, which is part of why Legends: Arceus feels like such a breath of fresh air. It’s great to see Game Freak be a bit more ambitious with its design, and splitting Legends off in a wild new direction would allow the studio to explore that ambition even more.
Creating a bold new setting and diving into the story of Mew, the most mysterious Pokémon out there, seems like the perfect way forward.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is out now on Nintendo Switch.