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Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

Assuming Game Freak makes more of them.

My favorite thing about Pokemon Legends: Arceus is how, unlike most of the mainline entries, it leverages Pokemon’s lore to make an effective story-driven game. It delves into the history of the Sinnoh region (called Hisui during the game’s timeline) by severing itself from the competitive sport that’s usually crucial to the games, and its scenario is all the better for it. It makes me wonder: If the Pokemon Legends subseries continues, what region would make a compelling follow-up? To explore this question, I’ve ranked the regions based on what we know of Pokemon mythology.

Spoilers for Pokemon Legends: Arceus and broad discussion of Pokemon lore follow:

Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

7. Kanto

Anyone who thinks Pokemon’s first generation is its best is probably hoping that the next foray into a historical Pokemon adventure will take us to where it all began. But looking at the setting of Pokemon Red & Blue, it’s hard to extrapolate just what that would look like. Unlike the Sinnoh region, Kanto doesn’t have much in the way of mythology and history tied to Legendary Pokemon. The rare Pokemon in Pokemon Red & Blue aren’t forces of nature like Arceus, Palkia, and Dialga in Pokemon Diamond & Pearl. The bird trio, Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos were retroactively tied to the Johto region, and Mewtwo is a smaller-scale story in the modern day. As much as people have a soft spot for those original games and their Pokemon, Kanto doesn’t really feel like it has the same historical foundation as other regions. This isn’t to say developer Game Freak couldn’t write a story we haven’t seen inklings of, but several of Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ best moments are found in the relationship between the past and the present, and I would rather see the next Pokemon Legends game expand on what’s already been hinted at.

Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

6. Galar

The main reason Galar doesn’t stick out as a great setting for a Pokemon Legends-style game is that its mythology has been well explored in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Much of the region’s history has already been seen. Thousands of years prior to the beginning of Pokemon Sword & Shield, Eternatus, a Pokemon that appeared in Galar after a meteorite landed in the region, drained energy from the earth. This exposure led to the beginning of the Dynamax phenomenon, which caused Pokemon to grow to gargantuan sizes. This was stopped by the games’ mascots Zacian and Zamazenta, and Eternatus went into a deep slumber.

In a foolish attempt to replenish Galar’s Dynamax energy, surprise villain Chairman Rose essentially recreated these events, awakening Eternatus and requiring the player (and their rival Hop) to fight alongside Zacian and Zamazenta in order to stop the beast. It’s a pretty cool moment at the end of the game. But because it’s essentially a repeat of the same events, I don’t think a Galar Pokemon Legends game would touch on that much new ground. It would be neat to see things play out in a historical setting, but as far as filling out our understanding of what came before, it just seems like it’s too close to the source material.

Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

5. Alola

My hesitation to head to Alola for the next Pokemon Legends game comes more from its environment than anything else. The Hisui region may be a relatively empty video game world, but in terms of showcasing different biomes and habitats for Pokemon to roam in, it has a pretty diverse set of maps for you to explore. While the Alola region is made up of several islands with distinguishing characteristics (such as Ula’ula Island’s snowy mountains and Akala Island’s active volcano), you’re largely traveling between islands that have a tropical feel. Beyond that, a lot of the worldbuilding in Pokemon Sun & Moon is about modern corporations and concepts that aren’t as intrinsically tied to Alola as a location. So I don’t know that it would have the same effect as discovering how Palkia and Dialga played into the origins of Sinnoh. However, given the clear ways Alolan culture deviates from the rest of the Pokemon world as an in-universe allegory for Hawaiian culture, seeing the beginnings of that would still be a compelling direction for a hypothetical Alolan game.

Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

4. Hoenn

The interesting thing about the setting of Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire is how significant it is to the Pokemon world yet how devoid of a cultural and anthropological context. The legends of the Hoenn region are Groudon and Kyogre, who raised the land and sea. Though the two Pokemon were in conflict, they were forced into a ceasefire by Rayquaza, which put both into a deep slumber they would awaken from in the Game Boy Advance games. But in terms of what this time was like for humans and how it factored into their relationship with Pokemon, we actually know very little about Hoenn. It’s an important point in history, but I’m not sure where the player would fit into it. Were Pokemon and humanity even near co-existence by this point? How primitive were humans at the point when Groudon and Kyogre were creating such fundamentals of life? It raises a lot of questions I’d like to see explored. But unlike the regions ranking higher on the list, I don’t have a concrete vision of what a Pokemon Legends game set in Hoenn would entail.

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Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

3. Unova

Pokemon Legends: Arceus has a moment where the player is able to choose between framing Palkia or Dialga as an instigator in the conflict tearing apart the Hisui region. Ultimately, it paints the same picture, just with a different color. But the choice still feels significant because it determines the final fight before the game’s credits roll. The setting of Unova offers another chance for players to put their stamp on the Pokemon universe’s history with its legendary mascots, Zekrom and Reshiram. As described in Pokemon Black & White, these two dragons were once a singular entity that was split in two by twin brothers who once joined forces with it. This dragon was the progenitor of the Unova region as it once was, but as the twins came into an ideological conflict, the Pokemon split into Zekrom and Reshiram. The conflict that followed led to the near-destruction of the Unova region, with one of the only remains of their time in modern day being the ruins of Relic Castle, where one of the brothers and his dragon operated within a new hub for civilization.

Pokemon Black & White, as well as their sequels Pokemon Black & White 2, play a lot with the duality of both Reshiram and Zekrom by putting them in modular roles, depending on which game you’re playing. It can portray either as a villain in Unova’s history. If we were to go back to the region’s early history, we might get to see these events unfold and pick a side, essentially setting the table for one series of games or the other. Pokemon has always existed in alternate timelines because most of these games are released in pairs that depict mostly similar stories with a few deviations and switches in starring Pokemon. Pokemon Legends: Arceus uses this to its strength: Some of its most captivating scenes are when the player plants the seeds for one or the other. A Pokemon Legends game taking place in Unova could take that a step further and create two vastly different storylines depending on players’ choices, making for a fascinating setting.

Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

2. Johto

One of my favorite moments of Pokemon Legends: Arceus is when a fight between Palkia and Dialga escalates and the destruction annihilates the Temple of Sinnoh, revealing the wreckage that would become known as Spear Pillar in Pokemon Diamond & Pearl. It’s the kind of recontextualization only a prequel can pull off. Now, we no longer have to wonder what happened at these ruins, because we were there to see it happen. This moment is why I think Johto would be a great region for the next Pokemon Legends game, as we already know of a story that could carry similar weight.

Ho-oh, the mascot of Pokemon Gold, is the master of the Legendary Beasts: Entei, Raikou, and Suicune. These three Pokemon once took on completely different forms but died in the fire that burned Brass Tower in Ecruteak City. Ho-oh revived these unnamed Pokemon, and they became the Legendary Beasts the player would one day chase around the Johto region in hopes of adding them to their team. The burning of Brass Tower is central to the story of both Ho-oh and its counterpart Lugia, the mascot of Pokemon Silver, who has been said to have possibly been perched on the tower at some point in history. Though the story has been told through historians within the Pokemon universe, there have been discrepancies in its retelling. So it seems like a prime central moment to serve as the basis for a Pokemon Legends game’s story, for as players we could finally see what truly happened between Ho-oh, Lugia, and the Legendary Beasts. It could also strengthen the connection between Lugia and the other Legendary Birds of Kanto, for although Lugia has been treated as their master in media like Pokemon 2000: The Movie, it has felt more disconnected from them in the actual games.

Where Should the Next Pokemon Legends Game Take Place?

1. Kalos

A Pokemon Legends game set in the region of Pokemon X & Y has a lot of potential. Its historical significance is on-par with the Sinnoh region that made Pokemon Legends: Arceus a no-brainer, but it’s not because Pokemon X & Y’s story deals with gods of the universe. It’s because it contends with one of humanity and Pokemon’s lowest points: the Kalos War. 

As it’s described in Pokemon X & Y, the Kalos War was a conflict that began 3,000 years before the game began and was responsible for the deaths of countless people and Pokemon. Similar to when we see the Hisui region in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, this was a time before Pokemon training and battling as we know it became commonplace. As such, these creatures were seen as expendable weapons for the conflict at hand. The Kalos War led to the creation of the Ultimate Weapon as a means of forcefully ending the war, serving as a major plot beat in Pokemon X & Y. Unlike Pokemon Legends: Arceus, a Pokemon Legends game in Kalos would probably not have a happy ending, as these threads wouldn’t be wrapped up until the timeline catches up to Pokemon X & Y. But as a historical moment in the Pokemon universe, there aren’t many that match its importance, which is why I think it’s the best period in which to set the next Pokemon Legends game.

About the Author

Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Staff Writer at Fanbyte. He still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.