Pokémon Go’s next update is on its way with plenty worth bracing the winter cold for. Starting on December 2, players will be motivated to suit up in hats and gloves and go out exploring by the lure of ancient Pokémon from the Hisui region, as featured in Pokémon Legends: Arceus on Nintendo Switch, giving the title a needed plug and boost.
So far, Niantic has confirmed four Hisuian Pokémon debuting in Go through the Timeless Travels event, namely Wyrdeer and the final evolutions of Legends’ starters: Hisuian Decidueye, Typhlosion and Samurott.
Referencing this jump through time (and perhaps a gift-related pun for the holidays?), the event’s slogan is "Connect to the past. Catch the present."
Niantic has also confirmed that Hisuian Samurott will be obtainable in its shiny form via Raids on December 3. It’s currently unconfirmed whether the other starter evolutions will be obtainable as shinies, but Go would be missing a trick if Hisuian Decidueye’s fern-green variant is left out so close to Christmas.
The return to Hisui
In January 2024 it will have been two years since Pokémon Legends: Arceus first launched on Nintendo Switch, so one may wonder why Pokémon Go is returning its focus to an older game when there are still plenty more creatures to add from the latest titles Scarlet and Violet. There are, in fact, a number of logical explanations for this. One is simply the in-game climates - the newest region Paldea is lush and temperate, where Hisui is known for its cold, snowy environments better suited to a winter event.
Another, more likely explanation would be a sales push. After all, Scarlet and Violet have already become one of the top 10 best-selling Switch games, whereas Legends is currently 14th overall and only ranks fifth among Pokémon titles on Switch. Scarlet and Violet are already in second, for reference, so from The Pokémon Company’s point of view, mobile giant Go may well be better leveraged for a boost to a less successful title.
After all, in this context a return to Hisui’s unique inhabitants is a logical business move, introducing Go players to more of Legends' standout species to promote more sales, especially when the game took the Pokémon formula in such a unique direction, daring to innovate in a way that has not been as rewarding as of yet.
An additional benefit of this return to Hisui may be an avoidance of Paldea fatigue: recent Go updates have continually featured new Scarlet and Violet monsters, so a change of tack offers some breathing room for main series fans who are already regularly exposed to the latest critters and may be becoming less enthused by Go’s Paldea focus; in this way, the move also benefits Niantic in terms of Go engagement.
Further suggesting a renewed sales push for Legends: Arceus, DeNA’s mobile gacha game Pokémon Masters introduced its first two Hisuian characters in June this year and proceeded to add two more this autumn. Like Go, the Pokémon species brought in include Hisuian Decidueye and Samurott, joining protagonists Rei and Akari.