Pokémon Legends: Arceus takes the series in a new direction with stuff like more open-world exploration, crafting, and mounts. But more importantly, a new game means a new generation of Pokémon, and today Arceus showed off my new favorite: a haunted fish called Basculegion.
Full disclaimer: I’m one of those insufferable Poké-oldheads who thinks the early-gen Pokémon are super rad and all the rest kind of look at best derivative and at worst like trash. Is Klefki actually a Gen VI steel fairy type or a prank by my uncle dunking on how absurd it is when your nephew begins rattling off the intricate details of hundreds of imaginary creatures? Even the cool ones like Cinderace I have basically no attachment to.
I share this baggage up front just to underline how exceptionally rare it is for me to see new Pokémon and not only approve, but immediately want to make them headline my new lineup. Look, Basculegion checks all the boxes. Not based on an inanimate object? Yes. Reserved yet complementary color scheme? Mmhmm. Mean-ass stare? You bet! Step-aside Gyarados, a new fabulous sea creature approaches.
But for anyone who didn’t watch today’s Pokémon Direct deep-dive on Arceus I’m burying the lede. Basculegion isn’t just a cool-looking fish, it’s literally freaking haunted by the souls of its dead siblings. Its unevolved form, Basculin, was actually introduced back in Pokémon Black and White. In Arceus though it can finally evolve “if they become possessed by the restless souls of other Basculin in their school that have perished during their journey upstream.” These souls are literally what power it, so it can continue swimming without ever needing rest. It’s all extremely metal and reminiscent of Gen I’s Cubone who wears the skull of its death mother.
The other new Pokémon Game Freak showed off today were also intriguing, even if none of them would be quite as at home in a Dark Souls game as Basculegion would. There’s Wyrdeer, a four-legged Pokémon with a Snow White and the Seven Dwarves-looking beard that villagers wear for warmth when it sheds.
There’s also the Hisuian version of Braviary, another Gen V Pokémon coming back in a new, more majestic form complete with psychic attacks.
And last but certainly not least, there’s Hisuian Growlithe, or Growl for short, who has a naturally occuring Stahlhelm-style pointed helmet that’s made out of rock and that it uses in attacks.
Game Freak hasn’t said how many Pokémon Arceus will have in total, or how many will be new variants or evolutions. It’s not calling it Gen IX either. Instead, The Pokémon Company has positioned it more as a “pre-make” to Diamond and Pearl, since those games take place in the Sinnoh region that the Hisui region eventually turns into. For me, though, it’s all theoretical since I don’t plan to ever swap out Basculegion.