Pokemon Legends: Arceus Makes Controversial Poke Ball Lore Retcon
A retcon found in Pokemon Legends: Arceus dramatically shifts Pokemon players’ understanding of how Poke Balls actually work.
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Ask a Pokemon player how Poke Balls work in-universe, and they’ll likely have a different answer from the next person asked. The inner workings of a Poke Ball have been kept ambiguous with intent, if only to conflict between the game franchise’s rules and lore. However, Pokemon Legends: Arceus appears to make a striking revelation regarding how Poke Balls are able to capture Pokemon. The retcon is so surprising that some Pokemon fans are even rejecting Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ canon. It’s a controversy, to say the least.
The new Poke Ball information comes via a conversation with Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ Professor Laventon. In a conversation with Professor Laventon, he describes how Poke Balls work to the player. Laventon starts with a major revelation, that “Pokemon possess the odd power to shrink themselves down.” It’s through this power that Poke Balls are able to “make use of that power to catch them!” No further detail on the process is provided, but that’s already more than enough to shake the foundations of past understanding of how catching Pokemon works.
Prior to now, the canonized belief associated with catching Pokemon is that Poke Balls were able to convert Pokemon into a type of digital information or energy. Pokemon are still aware in this form, allowing them to struggle against capture or even leave a Poke Ball at will if they feel the need to. This new lore from Pokemon Legends: Arceus changes that, however. Instead of being converted into a form of energy, Pokemon are simply shrunk to a very small size.
Since the issue isn’t elaborated on, it isn’t clear if this is The Pokemon Company’s solution for Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ taking place in a much earlier time, or if it’s intended to also replace “modern” Pokemon logic as well. Summoning Pokemon in Pokemon Legends: Arceus still looks similar to other games, with Pokemon leaving their Poke Balls in a flash of blue light. The mystery of Pokemon capture has grown all the more mysterious.
Even outside the complicated nature of Poke Balls and capturing Pokemon, the revelations shared in Pokemon Legends: Arceus are strange. Pokemon being able to shift their sizes is an all-but-absurd idea. After all, Pokemon battle each other constantly, yet never change sizes mid-battle even under extreme duress. Wars have been fought with Pokemon, but they aren’t noted as shifting sizes in war, either.
In the end, Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ retcon doesn’t make much sense. But then again, Pokemon battling as a whole is best not looked too closely at, as it’s a video game series intended for an audience that includes kids. Not everything has to make sense, though this retcon may have gone a bit too far for some Pokemon fans.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is available now on Switch.
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