And that sounds better than a full open-world BOTW-style game
For fans looking forward to a Breath of the Wild inspired Pokémon game, it seems that the upcoming Pokémon Legends: Arceus is less like the popular Legend of Zelda game and more like Monster Hunter, with separate open areas each having its own base camp and the one main village of Jubilife Village. Kotaku brought the situation to light earlier today with a comment from The Pokémon Company which vaguely confirmed these theories.
The Pokémon Company told Kotaku that "players will set out from the village to study one of the various open areas of the Hisui region. After they finish the survey work, players will need to return once more to prepare for their next task." It sounds very much like players won't be able to travel between areas seamlessly, and more like the Wild Areas from Pokémon Sword and Shield and their DLC expansions will be returning in a much bigger way – just without the online functionality this time around.
While this writer was looking forward to a Breath of the Wild-inspired Pokémon game, being swept up in the rolling hills of the Hisui region, the gameplay loop that seems to be on the cards sounds like it'll work better than just a straight open-world. The idea that Hisui hasn't even been explored yet (in the lore at least, let's push aside the fact the Ezo region, which is modern-day Hokkaido, of which Hisui is based, had people living there prior to being colonized by Japan) makes this decision all the better. Unless of course there is something ancient going on ala a previous Pokémon game that was released recently.
Now, whether or not the "various open areas" will still be jam-packed full of content and missions is yet to be seen. To me, a mixing of the Pokémon formula with a little bit of Monster Hunter thrown in sounds like a refresh that the series needs to be re-energized in the minds of fans.
Head over to Kotaku to see the full statement from The Pokémon Company International and see their take on the news.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.