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Commenting on two screenshots showing the game’s map, which appear to be outlined with individual segments, Serebii.net’s Joe Merrick tweeted, “It is coming increasingly clear that Pokémon Legends: Arceus may not be fully open world but rather segmented open areas”.
He instead compared these to the maps in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the later instalments of Monster Hunter (unlike the earlier ones, where a single map was broken up into multiple areas with loading screens), while also citing this would be similar to the Wild Area and the Crown Tundra in Pokémon Sword and Shield and its expansion.
It is coming increasingly clear that Pokémon Legends Arceus may not be full open world but rather segmented open areas like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Monster Hunter etc. separated into different areas like the Wild Area/Crown Tundra did
I'm fine with this really. pic.twitter.com/llpCUUvQGx
— Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) September 30, 2021
While trailers of Pokémon Legends: Arceus have certainly given the impression of vast areas to explore, Nintendo has never explicitly said that the game would be open-world, only that it “honours past Pokémon games’ core gameplay while infusing new action and RPG elements,” as described in the official game listing.
Pokémon fans may however have to temper expectations, which had previously turned to backlash with Sword and Shield‘s “Dexit” controversy after it was revealed that not all 898 Pokémon would be included in those games.
The recent trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus had also led fans to compare the game to 2006 RPG The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, as the visuals, from the puddles to the trees were criticised, even compared to games from indie developers.
If Arceus turns out not to be a completely and seamlessly open world, then it’s not a huge surprise. This is Game Freak’s first major undertaking with a much larger and more open game in the series, following its experiment with the open Wild Area in Sword and Shield. In any case, Nintendo’s resources on open world game development are also being focused on Breath Of The Wild 2.
Elsewhere, Pokémon are set to join Universal Studios Japan in a new “uniquely Pokémon experience” for the theme park in 2022.