After a few generations of getting too comfortable with the same general formula with little or discarded meaningful innovations, it looks like the mainline Pokémon video game series is ready for change. While the inevitable Diamond and Pearl remakes were revealed, a surprise was that Game Freak outsourced the games to ILCA while the former works on Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It’s the long-awaited “Pokémon: Breath of the Wild” fans have long dreamt of.
While there’ll be some reservations over how the execution will pan out, it’s at least fair to be cautiously excited over the series’ future. It opens up a new pathway for future games, including generation nine, but it’s also a new avenue for other established generations. Here’s why a Legends Celebi game should come next, and why the Unova region should come first.
10 Celebi: Follow-Up To Potential Let’s, Go Johto Games
Prior to the Pokémon Presents that revealed Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and Legends: Arceus would be the next mainline games, the other possibility fans speculated on were Let’s, Go! Johto games. At times, painful motion control aside, Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! proved to be good, fun, and nostalgic romps that potentially set the groundwork for more down the line.
If Kanto can get remade to the point where it’s a tired meme, then an improved Let’s Go formula with another pair of remakes could work, and a “Legends: Celebi” game could follow suit. Much like the Sinnoh remakes paving the way for Game Freak’s ambitious new prequel, a Johto Legends could be the entrée to a new pair of Let’s Go appetizers, especially since ILCA could handle the latter.
9 Unova: Follow-Up To Potential Black & White Remakes
It’s understandably too early to dwell on this, but since mainline remakes have been a tradition for Pokémon, it’s not unreasonable to think that Unova is next in several years. Black and White–and Black 2 and White 2 by extension–are arguably the last generation of games where the mainline games were at their last peaks quality-wise, so getting a modern rebuild would also be welcome.
ILCA handling the remakes could still pan out well as long as their smaller-scale, traditionalist approach is refined, and it could pave the way for a Legends Unova game. This would be more in line with the immediate upcoming slate of games, so ILCA and GF could adjust development and release schedules accordingly based on how BD/SP and Legends: Arceus turn out.
8 Celebi: The Time Travel Pokémon
Since Pokémon Legends: Arceus is using its mythical deity Pokémon as a reason to make it an ancient-Sinnoh prequel, Celebi could easily and naturally set the stage for Gold/Silver/Crystal prequels just as well. Celebi is literally known as the “Time Travel Pokémon,” opening up the possibility for a Legends game focusing on it and a feudal Johto.
Given part of the title of the 2022 game is Legends, it seems to suggest that prequels might be a theme for the upcoming games. With the legendary species in each generation, they could make these games work for all, but the timing and the concept of Celebi is too perfect.
7 Unova: Exploring The “Original Dragon”
Should the upcoming Legends branding continue as its own mainline series and retain the historical themes, the Tao trio of Pokémon Black and White have their own potential narrative entry point. Legends: Arceus is using its literal Pokémon god who started it all as a focal point of the story, and Zekrom, Reshiram, and Kyurem have their own ancient history.
In the Unova region, it was said that the former two were originally a singular “Original Dragon” Pokémon before separating into two individual species. The Original Dragon created the Unova region, so a Legends game set in the fifth generation could easily exploit this piece of lore.
6 Celebi: Ancient Kanto
Kanto being remade and pandered to has long been a dead and beaten horse for the franchise. However, including an ancient Kanto region in a Legends Johto/Celebi game could get a reasonable pass regardless. Gold and Silver were the first games that allowed players to travel to a previous region (Kanto) and doing that again in this hypothetical game–with the tools that are currently at Game Freak’s disposal–would be a wonderfully refreshing twist.
Open-world, high-quality visuals and new gameplay mechanics/features could unironically make Kanto worth remaking and revisiting again, with the best part being that it wouldn’t even need a separate game to do this. This way, the generations with far less attention given could get Legends treatments sooner.
5 Unova: Heroes Of Truth & Ideals As Protagonists
Two coinciding human characters that could be another vehicle for the game and its plot are the Heroes of Truth and Ideals. The twin heroes used the Original Dragon to create Unova, though each had conflicting sets of goals, resulting in the two fighting against each other.
Specifically, this is where the original dragon first split into two, Zekrom and Reshiram, one used by each to war with each other. Story/plot was never Pokémon‘s strong suit, but there’s plenty of lore, and the Unova games were the rare exception of games with both good lore and plot, so the foundation is here for GF to play with should they choose.
4 Celebi: “Super Nintendo Switch” Powering Two Regions
To support a hypothetical second region in a game like this, the game will likely need the help of stronger hardware backing it up. Regardless, it would still need to run optimally on the current model, as no one wants another Cyberpunk 2077 situation on their hands. That being said, should an upgraded Switch model release, it could help bolster a “Legends: Celebi” game to power an open-world capably of suitably housing and populating a revamped Johto and Kanto region.
Rumored as the “Super Nintendo Switch,” Johto + Kanto could be possible should the game retain a Breath of the Wild-inspired art style, powered by hardware allowing it a smooth, consistent framerate.
3 Unova: Drastic Reimagining Of The Land Itself
Given that Legends: Arceus is an open-world game in 3D, this is somewhat of a given, but with how the gen five games were made, there could be even more liberty in reimagining the land of Unova than before. Black 2 and White 2 were the rare direct sequels to their predecessors, and GF took the opportunity to change and adjust what the region looked like from Black and White.
Especially with the lore of the land’s origins, developers can get pretty creative with how Unova will be physically structured and what certain landmarks will look like–as well as introducing “new” ones.
2 Celebi: The Burned Tower
A potential premise for a Johto prequel game to cover is the origins of the Burned Tower. It was originally part of a pair of towers in Ecruteak City, alongside the Bell/Tin Tower. The legendary Ho-Oh used to perch atop the Tin Tower before the other mysteriously burned down, where three nameless Pokémon died within.
The phoenix Pokémon returned to revive the three after the fires were extinguished by a sudden downpour. Of course, they turned out to be the Legendary Beasts: Entei, Raikou, and Suicune. This took place around 150 years before Gold/Silver/Crystal, so it would make a great narrative platform.
1 Unova: Victini “Mascot”
Since the flagship/mascot of the upcoming Legends game is Arceus, any subsequent game under that branding will need a legendary/mythical to correspond to the region. This is for narrative purposes as well, and Unova’s Victini fits that mold.
Going hand-in-hand with the Original Dragon and the Heroes, using the former as a mascot would seem like a spoiler (as it’s technically an undiscovered species), so Victini could play a role narratively to lead into both it and the Heroes, similar to the 14th anime movie. It wouldn’t–and shouldn’t–be a 1:1 adaptation, but this could be another great piece of a plot-centered foundation.
NEXT: Pokémon: 10 Modern Updates Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Need
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