Pokémon Legends: Arceus represents the first major shake-up of the Pokémon franchise since its inception. Fans have been calling for an open world Pokémon game for years, but Game Freak has been careful to point out that Legends: Arceus is not a mainline game in order to curb expectations. Experimentation is great to offer innovation from older franchises, but is open world really the design element that Pokémon needs to appease fans?
While the sales numbers of Pokémon games reveal that Gamefreak and The Pokémon Company have absolutely nothing to fear, dissent has been growing among fans, increasing with every generation. A commonly cited issue is with the easy difficulty of the games, how much they hold players’ hands, and the constant introduction and abandonment of gimmicks. Pokémon Sword and Shield bore the brunt of these criticisms when it was announced that not every Pokémon would be available within the game, and when graphics and animations did not meet what fans expected from a Switch game.