Pokemon Legends: Arceus Finally Explains How Poke Balls Work

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a groundbreaking game for a number of reasons, including in that it finally provides something of an explanation as to the physics of catching Pokemon. Released earlier today, the new game is set in the Hisui region, a past version of the area fans know as the Sinnoh region. During the opening minutes of the game, players are introduced to Professor Laventon, a beanie-wearing researcher with the Galaxy Expedition Team. As the first resident of the Hisui region players are introduced to, Laventon briefly explains the purpose of the Galaxy Expedition Team before three Pokemon he imported from other regions suddenly run off. Laventon then tasks the player with catching the Pokemon using old-fashioned Poke Balls. 

While the opening sequence serves as a way to introduce players to the mechanics of throwing Poke Balls and catching them, it also provides the most detailed explanation as to how a Poke Ball works. Laventon explains that Pokemon have the ability to shrink themselves into minuscule sizes, and that the Poke Ball can actually trigger this shrinking reaction when it hits a Pokemon and then capture a Pokemon inside of it. Given that Pokemon stands for "Pocket Monster," the revelation that all Pokemon can spontaneously shrink isn't surprising, but it is a major addition to the Pokemon mythology as we know it. Given that modern Poke Balls seemingly convert a Pokemon into energy, perhaps this is just a more advanced representation of a Pokemon getting shrunk down before it's snagged inside a Poke Ball. 

The reveal that Pokemon can shrink on their own also explains why players can't always immediately reengage with a Pokemon after they've run away, or why they seemingly appear and disappear in the wild. It also syncs up with how Pokemon are depicted in other media, as we usually see Pokemon snugly fitting inside a Poke Ball in various manga as opposed to appearing as a form of energy or data. 

While Laventon doesn't explain why a Pokemon suddenly is keen on obeying a trainer once captured, nor does it explain how a Poke Ball suddenly transports a Pokemon safely to a pasture (the Hisui equivalent of a PC Box), we finally know the answers to one of the Pokemon franchise's biggest unanswered questions. We'll have more coverage of Pokemon Legends: Arceus over the next few weeks.