Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ Marketing Has Been Sparse And I Love It

Pokemon Legends: Arceus releases next week, and I don’t have a fucking clue what it’s about. I don’t know what most of the mechanics will be, whether there’s a story, or what the point to it all is. I’m sure there are Pokemon and Hisuian forms still to be revealed (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for the starters’ final evolutions), but let’s face it – we know nothing about the new game. And I love it.

I’ve not been this excited for a Pokemon game in a long time. Part of that is because of how revolutionary Legends: Arceus looks like it could be for the series, and part of that is because of the marketing – or lack thereof.

Ahead of Pokemon Sword & Shield, we knew practically everything about it. We knew about Dynamaxing, which would have been an awesome surprise even if I’m bored of cheap gimmicks by now. We knew about new Pokemon. We knew the Legendaries, thanks to trailers and the box art. Legends: Arceus has given us nothing.

Even the 13-minute gameplay trailer last week gave very little away. We saw some world traversal, some basics of crafting, and some cosmetics. There were a couple of battles thrown in and a deeper explanation of the new battle styles, but the only real thing that these 13 minutes told us were that this is definitely Pokemon’s Breath of the Wild.

What I’m saying is, the promotion for Legends: Arceus has been as sparse as Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule – and the Hisui region looks to be equally barren. This is a good thing, both in terms of the game and the marketing. For the game, the latest iteration of Hyrule worked so well because of the lack of stuff in it. No task markers, a handful of people, and towns are few and far between – it makes the game so appealing to explore. If Pokemon doesn’t have too many silly quests and instead fully invokes the spirit of Breath of the Wild then I’ll be a happy boy. But this also goes for the marketing.

The Pokemon Company has done an excellent job at never letting fans forget that Arceus is coming, while also never actually revealing much more about the game with every reminder. We’re going in having only seen the vibes of the game, and those vibes are excellent. There’s roaming, open areas to explore, beastly boss battles and very few trainers. It doesn’t look like there are wild encounters either – only what you can see on screen can attack you. The trailers look cool, but they don’t actually reveal anything at all. We still haven’t seen Arceus itself, and the game is out next week!

This kind of radio silence is unprecedented from the Pokemon Company, but it’s intentional. The lack of news is creating more hype than any reveals would; as we’ve seen with previous iterations, some players will be unhappy with any announcement. In lieu of bad press for, say, a reduced Pokedex, before the game’s release, Pokemon is letting players experience the game for themselves before formulating their opinion, rather than making their minds up based on announcements months before the game is in their hands.

But the lack of reveals has another effect, too – it means our first playthroughs will be like those when we were playing Pokemon for the first time, whether that was in Kanto, Johto, or anywhere else. We’ll be truly exploring, instead of asking ourselves when the next thing we’ve already been told about will appear. I don’t remember the last time I went into a Pokemon game knowing this little about it – likely Pokemon X after a few years of not playing the series. And it’s made me more excited than any trailer could ever. January 28 can’t come soon enough.

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