At first glance, the Pokémon Legends: Arceus starter Pokémon may seem to be an odd combination. However, there may be some logic behind the creatures according to a recent report. The three adorable companion options in the anticipated, open-world Pokémon game set in feudal Japan are Cyndaquil, Rowlet, Oshawott. Following convention, it seems the game will allow players to choose from three different Pokémon types, fire, grass, and water. Uncharacteristically, the Pokémon Legends: Arceus starters all hail from across Pokémon generations and regions. The fire starter Cyndaquil first appeared in Gen 2 and called the Johto region home. Skipping a few generations, Oshawott was introduced as the Unova region’s beginning water choice in Gen 5. The most recent of the bunch, Rowlet, is a Gen 7 grass/flying-type Pokémon that can be found in the Alola region. The mysterious professor featured in Pokémon Legends: Arceus must be an extremely well-traveled person to have collected all these creatures together.
Revealed at last week’s exciting Pokémon Presents event, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is breaking with the franchise’s traditions in more ways than its unusual picks for starters. The action-RPG appears to be the first truly open-world setting in the series and the announcement trailer shows the main character utilizing Pokéballs outside of combat. The game’s lush landscape and adventurous vibe prompted more than a few fans to compare the title to games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Genshin Impact. While little is known about the ground-breaking Pokémon title, these comparisons to highly popular and beloved games reveal fans’ high hopes for it.
That the three wildly differing Cyndaquil, Rowlet, and Oshawott might have a connection lurking beneath the surface is a concept explored in a recent GameSpot article. It asserts that while the creatures vary in type, generation, and region, each has an interesting connection to the unique setting in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. The game will take place in the Sinnoh region, a location-based off of the real-world island of Hokkaidō, and a setting it will share with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. However, in the upcoming title, players will set out to explore a version of the region set in the distant past, long before the events of most Pokémon games. It seems that the three starter Pokémon all have clever allusions to the feudal era in one way or another.
You’ll still begin your journey with a Pokémon partner—but they won’t be native to the Sinnoh region. The starters you’ll choose from arrived from other regions with a Pokémon Professor, who encountered them during his research.
Let’s see if you recognize them, Trainers… pic.twitter.com/HxLgbVBhD4
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) February 26, 2021
The article first points to Oshawott, claiming the creature’s connection to feudal Japan is the easiest to find. Calling to mind the warriors of Japan’s past, the water type’s final evolution is called Samurott. The second link is more about time period than location as the article argues Decidueye, the last evolutionary form of Rowlet, resembles the famous archer Robinhood, whose legends originate from around the same time as the “Japanese practice of archery, kyūdō.” As for Cyndaquil, its connection seemingly has to do with the Japanese name of its third evolution. “Typhlosion is called Bakufoon in Japanese,” the article explains and goes on to tie this moniker to a form of military government which ruled through a portion of Japan’s history.
The idea that each starter in Pokémon Legends: Arceus has a clever connection to the game’s exciting open-world is fascinating. While the title’s creators have not talked about the decision to pull together such strangely differing creatures as Cyndaquil, Rowlet, Oshawott, the choice does indicate that the Pokémon game is hoping to make some major changes to the franchise’s familiar formula.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set to launch on Nintendo Switch in 2022.