Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Kalos Is The Perfect Setting For A New Pokémon Legends Game

During today’s Pokémon Presents, Game Freak announced that Pokémon Legends: Arceus wasn’t a one-off. The Legends subseries will continue with Pokémon Legends: Z-A, set in the Kalos region featured in X and Y. Folks, I was hooting and hollering, both because Legends: Arceus is the best thing Game Freak has done in probably 20 years, and because Kalos, despite not necessarily being a fan favorite, is the best place for Pokémon to go back to in a Legends game.

The Week In Games: Pocket Monsters And Simulated Goats

Share SubtitlesOffEnglishShare this VideoFacebookTwitterEmailRedditLinkview videoThe Week In Games: Pocket Monsters And Simulated Goats

What do we know about Pokémon Legends: Z-A?

We don’t know much about Legends: Z-A yet, but the teaser Game Freak showed off hints at the “Urban Redevelopment Plan” for Lumiose City. This metropolis is based off of Paris, and is a wholly developed city by the time we see it in X and Y. While there’s some online dispute about whether the “redevelopment” means this could take place after X and Y and that Lumiose is undergoing some kind of new transitional phase, the blueprints we see of the city in the teaser resemble Lumiose as it exists in modern day. There’s only been one Legends game before this, but the “Legends” title inherently implies that the story told is from the past. My running theory is that Legends: Z-A will be about a settlement called Lumiose City becoming the urban sprawl we know it to be.

The Pokémon Company

Nintendo confirmed that Legends: Z-A will take place entirely in Lumiose City, in contrast to the open wilderness of Arceus. That could mean we’re getting a Pokémon game that’s “open-world” in the Grand Theft Auto sense, or its spaces might be smaller and more focused, akin to those we see in a Persona game, or even something like Pokémon’s direct competitor, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. Whatever it looks like, it will be interesting to see what Game Freak considers the core pillars of a Legends game as it adapts the sub-series to new regions and moments in Pokémon history.

That history is what makes Legends: Z-A such a compelling pitch. The Kalos region is where a great war took place, which resulted in the creation of an Ultimate Weapon (which looks suspiciously similar to the “A” in Z-A’s logo) that had the power to wipe all life from the planet. If Z-A is going to be set during the elevation of Lumiose City, it’s unlikely we’ll get to see this war play out in real-time (it took place over 3000 years prior to X and Y), but we will likely get to observe its effects on Kalos’ culture.

The teaser implies time travel, and the involvement of AZ and Zygarde

Despite all of the above leading me to believe Legends: Z-A may take place in the past, the teaser does show what look like different eras of Lumiose City, using both hand-drawn sketches and futuristic 3D models to illustrate contrasting visions of the city. There’s even a point where the teaser expands from 4:3 aspect ratio to a more modern 16:9 as it transitions from 2D sketches to the modern rendering. With that framing in mind, the title Z-A may imply some time travel is involved. We could start at a modern Lumiose City (Z), then go back in time to see it as it was first being built (A). This would be in line with Legends: Arceus, which sent the main protagonist back in time to see crucial events of the Sinnoh region. So, this teaser might be hinting at a different spin on similar ideas.

The stylized rendering of the Z-A subtitle has layers to it beyond just hinting at possible time travel elements. The black Z has green hexagons visible on its surface which imply the involvement of Zygarde, one of the legendary Pokémon in the Kalos region who fans thought would be a mascot for a hypothetical Pokémon Z version that never came to be. But the full title also seems like a callback to the character of AZ, the former king of Kalos who created the Ultimate Weapon and survived for over 3,000 years leading up to X and Y. AZ is instrumental to the history of Kalos, so whatever form the story takes, he will likely be involved in some way.

At this point, we still don’t have a lot of concrete details about Pokémon Legends: Z-A, but the region of Kalos is full of so much compelling history that it is the perfect place to revisit in a new Legends game. While fans may have wanted something set in a more popular region like Gold and Silver’s Johto, Kalos is a perfect mix of historical significance and original structural ideas that could make for something rejuvenating. The series has been in a bit of a rut as it struggles with open-world design and quality control. Legends: Z-A may repeat old mistakes, but right now, it’s exactly what Game Freak needed to announce to get the community curious.

Popular Articles