Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Mar 012024

Last time, we discussed the unexpected announcement of Pokémon Legends: Z-A, and now I’d like to talk about some theories.

From the short teaser trailer, which doesn’t even show actual gameplay, there isn’t a lot we can say about the game for sure.

Nevertheless, I’d like to get some early thoughts out there based on what little we’ve seen so far.

Pokémon Legends: Z-A Will Take Place in the Past

The setting for Pokémon Legends: Z-A has been a big topic of debate. Pokémon Legends: Arceus was set in the past, in the Pokémon equivalent of the Meiji Era, which went from 1868-1912. However, initial impressions of Z-A are that this game might take place in the future. Due to the trailer’s presentation, even my first reaction while watching it was, “Is this a futuristic Pokémon game?”

But after thinking about it, I think it’s more likely that Z-A is set in the past after all. Instead of a cyber world, I think what we’re seeing in that trailer is a 3D realization of blueprints. That fits with how it shifts to a 2D overhead view of Lumiose City and then changes into the sketched design.

(Some fans have pointed to the modern clothing worn by people in the trailer as a sign that it’s not set in the past, but since it’s a stylized depiction, I think that could simply mean that it’s the creation of what Lumiose City is like now.)

Lumiose City is loosely based on Paris, and fans have pointed out Haussmann’s renovation of Paris as a potential inspiration for the Lumiose City Urban Redevelopment Plan. This took place between 1853-1870 and resulted in Paris’s modern design, much as how this would lead to Lumiose City’s modern design.

As exciting as it would be to have a game set 3,000 years in the past during the war, I don’t expect that. This time frame, which is closer to that of Legends: Arceus, seems much more likely.

There Will Be Areas Outside Lumiose City

I know, I know, Nintendo’s tweet said Z-A is set entirely within Lumiose City. However, I think it’s possible we’ll still leave the city occasionally – not to explore the full region of Kalos, but to enter areas related to Lumiose City.

For example, the Power Plant supplies power to Lumiose City, and its mysterious locked doors have frustrated fans ever since X/Y came out. There’s no way to get inside and no explanation for them. Many fans thought they would play a role in X/Y DLC or Pokémon Z, until neither of those things came to pass. Revisiting the Power Plant in its early days could finally let us see the full thing.

However, I do think most of the game will take place within the city. The way it’s split into sectors feels like it’s perfectly set up to act like the different regions in Legends: Arceus.

It Will Play Like Legends: Arceus

This one feels like a given, since it’s another Legends game, but you’d be surprised at how many people have taken the “urban redevelopment plan” to mean it’ll be a city builder and have little to no normal Pokémon mechanics.

But it’s not like Pokémon is any stranger to spin-offs. If they were going to make the gameplay drastically different, I think they would have given it a new title instead of calling it Pokémon Legends. How the gameplay mechanics will translate to a primarily city-based game, I’m not sure, but perhaps the Pokémon are scattered throughout the city and you need to collect them to catalogue them as part of this new vision of harmony between humans and Pokémon.

What would be neat would be if city-building did play a role somehow. Perhaps as you catch more Pokémon, instead of just ranking up like you did in Legends: Arceus, the city will develop and new facilities will become available. Completing the Pokémon data for a given sector could complete that sector’s development. That would be a cool way to connect the two concepts!

We’ll See A Predecessor to Team Flare

I’m not a big fan of Team Flare. I found them to be one of the least interesting Pokémon villain teams. But Legends: Arceus did interesting things with Galaxy Team being a presumed predecessor to Team Galactic, so we could see the same thing happen here. While it didn’t catch my eye at first, some fans pointed out that the teaser trailer says the urban redevelopment plan is for “beautiful coexistence,” and Team Flare was all about wanting a “beautiful” world.

Z-A… AZ…?

Nope, I’ve got nothing. I’m convinced there has to be a connection here; you wouldn’t take a game with a major character called AZ and call its spin-off Z-A for no reason. My guess is that the title has a double meaning – the Z stands for Zygarde and the A will have a separate meaning within the plot, but it’s a reference to AZ as well. What that will actually mean for the story, though, I’m not sure.

Click for Pokemon X/Y spoilers
Come to think of it, AZ could appear as a character. He would have been alive during the time period I’m theorizing the game is set. That would be pretty interesting if AZ was a character you met and interacted with (maybe having a role similar to Cogita in Legends: Arceus).


Anyway, these are my current thoughts on what Pokémon Legends: Z-A will be like. I could be completely wrong! We’ll find out eventually, but in the meantime, what are your theories on Pokémon Legends: Z-A?

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Feb 282024

I’ll admit, the rumors had me completely fooled.

All the rumors claimed the new Pokémon game would be something related to Johto or Unova, and when I made my predictions, I figured those were the most likely things.

A new Kalos game never even crossed my mind.

Yesterday’s Pokémon Presents wasn’t exceptionally exciting for most of its run. They gave updates on their many, many mobile games, and then they announced a new mobile Pokémon Trading Card Game. Then they ended with one final announcement, and it was one no one saw coming.

The odd teaser trailer revealed an “urban redevelopment project” for a city soon revealed to be Lumiose City from Pokémon X and Y, after which the game was officially announced as Pokémon Legends: Z-A.

This is crazy. It’s a new Pokémon Legends game, which I’m definitely looking forward to after Arceus. And it’s sort of the long-awaited Pokémon Z that people expected for so long but never got.

It’s curious that they aren’t calling it Pokémon Legends: Zygarde, despite the previous Legends game being Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but they might be intentionally calling back to the X/Y/Z trio of games everyone expected at the time. Since it’s specifically Z-A, the letters must have some sort of meaning as well… and we can’t forget that a major character in Pokémon X and Y was named AZ. That can’t be a coincidence, can it?

We know very little about Pokémon Legends: Z-A right now, aside from it involving a redevelopment project in Lumiose City designed to create a place where people and Pokémon could live in harmony. A tweet from Nintendo says it will take place “entirely within Lumiose City,” but even that’s not the clearest statement of what to expect from the game.

Regardless, I’m excited! Although X and Y weren’t my favorite Pokémon generation, I did enjoy the lore behind the story, and a a new Legends game is definitely welcome. In the midst of so many rumors and supposed leaks, it’s nice to be surprised by an announcement like this, too.

Pokémon Legends: Z-A won’t be out until 2025, so we have plenty of time to learn more. Until then, what are you expecting or hoping for from this surprise new Pokémon game?

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Feb 232024

We’re now past the Nintendo Direct and the Shadow of the Erdtree trailer, but we’ve still got another showcase to look forward to next Tuesday.

A Pokémon Presents was announced for February 27 at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET, with exciting news promised.

February 27 is always Pokémon Day, because it’s the anniversary of the first game coming out in Japan. This year marks the 28th anniversary, to be precise. So it makes sense that they often celebrate it with announcements.

This is an odd one for me, because it’s the first Pokémon Presents in a long time where I won’t be waiting for news on Detective Pikachu Returns. That game is now out (and I loved it, even though I’m in the minority there) and showed no indications of getting a sequel, so Detective Pikachu is off the table for predictions now.

Where does that leave us?

All the buzz right now is from people expecting either new games connected to either Johto or Unova (or both), ranging from Let’s Go style remakes, BDSP style remakes, or another Legends game. I loved Legends Arceus, so that’s the possibility I’d like to see the most. On the other hand, Black and White are so hard to find nowadays that I’d be pretty excited for faithful remakes, too.

The most amazing thing ever would be if they remade Black/White and Black/White 2 and bundled them together, but I doubt that will ever happen. That’s a pipe dream, not a prediction.

But you know what I’m hoping to see? Pokémon Mystery Dungeon! No I haven’t played the ones I have yet. This would be incentive! A year ago, everyone was convinced a new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game was going to be announced, and it just… didn’t happen. So maybe this will be the year!

Of course, I’m sure they’ll devote time to discussing updates to the various Pokémon mobile games, too.

It’s probably too early for the next gen to be announced, but a remake does seem plausible enough. So I’ll predict the Black/White remakes and/or a new Legends game as the most likely announcements, with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon as my personal hope.

(Watch me be completely wrong and they announce Detective Pikachu 3.)

Anyway, what do you expect to see from the Pokémon Presents showcase next week? What games are you hoping for the most? Should I finally give in and play Sword/Shield or Scarlet/Violet? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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