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Pokémon Legends: Z-A: 10 things to expect from the new Nintendo Switch game

It’s time to dust off your Pokédex as a brand new Pokémon game is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

Announced during last night’s Pokémon Presents show, Pokémon Legends: Z-A will arrive in 2025. Nintendo also treated fans to the game’s first trailer, which brought to life the cryptic contents of a secret dossier on the game’s iconic location.

Although it was bereft of actual gameplay, the clip still managed to squeeze in plenty of clues about the upcoming title. Here’s what it told us about Pokémon Legends: Z-A.

Is it a main entry or a spinoff?

Fans will surely pick apart the game's title until 2025 (Nintendo)
Fans will surely pick apart the game's title until 2025 (Nintendo)

The first thing we see in the new trailer after the Nintendo Switch intro is the name and logo of the game’s developer, Game Freak. Hardly a shocker, but this tells us we’re dealing with a major new entry for the franchise.

For the uninitiated, Game Freak is the primary developer for the main series of Pokémon games, starting from its roots in 1996’s Pokémon Red and Blue all the way to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in 2022. Seeing as the developer doesn’t deal in spinoffs, we can rest assured that we’re getting a mainline game.

It’s set entirely in Lumiose City

The new game marks a significant departure for the Pokémon series: Nintendo has revealed that it will take place entirely in Lumiose City.

As fans of Pokémon X and Y will be aware, that’s the name of the Parisienne-style metropolis from those 3DS games that features a large monument reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. Sure enough, the looming Lumiose Tower pops up during the trailer at the one-minute mark.

Typically speaking, mainline Pokémon games allow players to explore regions composed of multiple towns and natural environments. For instance, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Z-A’s predecessor from 2022, was set in the ancient Hsui region that later became Sinnoh.

What about the map?

The map of Lumiose City sure looks like a pepperoni pizza (Nintendo)
The map of Lumiose City sure looks like a pepperoni pizza (Nintendo)

A game set exclusively in a single location has some fans despairing about a smaller map compared to recent entries. Though we can’t say for sure, we’re assuming that probably isn’t the case. There’s nothing stopping Game Freak from expanding the Lumiose we know from X and Y into a sprawling city, home to a central district, distinct enclaves, and serene suburbs.

In fact, at the end of the trailer, we see what could be an early glimpse of the game’s map. The top-down view shows a circular layout of the city, with five sections connected to the Lumiose Tower in the center. Admittedly, it kind of looks like a pizza. There are also five smaller circles in each of the zones that could be the stadiums where the big Pokémon battles take place.

A futuristic Legends game?

The trailer shows Lumiose city taking shape before our eyes (Nintendo)
The trailer shows Lumiose city taking shape before our eyes (Nintendo)

If Z-A follows the same formula as Arceus, does that mean we’re going to get a history lesson about Lumiose City? It’s hard to say at this early stage, but that hasn’t stopped fans from sharing some wild theories.

The trailer shows the city’s architectural evolution from a hand-drawn sketch on a piece of paper to a dazzling 3D model. Its neon outlines evoke the slick sci-fi majesty of Tron, the cult Disney movie set inside a fictional arcade game.

Based on the clip, some fans are speculating that the new game could involve traveling between the past, present and future of Lumiose City. Or, maybe the mention of an “urban redevelopment plan” is a nod to the major renovation of Paris that occurred between 1853 and 1870.

What does Z-A mean?

Thankfully, the game’s title isn’t as hard to decipher. The “Z” probably refers to Zygarde, a legendary Pokémon found in Pokémon X and Y.

The letter also harks back to the highly anticipated sequel to those games that never materialised. Seeing as Pokémon is historically built around trilogies, many fans expected Nintendo to release the fabled Pokémon Z as a follow-up to Pokémon X and Y.

Then there’s King AZ from the X and Y games: The tragic monarch and his beloved Pokémon Florette were ingrained in the lore of Kalos. Flip AZ around, and you get Z-A.

Mega evolutions are back

The logo that tells us mega evolutions will be part of the game (Nintendo)
The logo that tells us mega evolutions will be part of the game (Nintendo)

Putting the theories aside for a sec, one thing we know for sure is that the game will feature mega evolutions. These are temporary boosts that see Pokémon grow more powerful during battle. Only specific Pokémon with corresponding mega stones are capable of mega evolving.

Introduced in Pokémon X and Y, the feature added a new layer of strategy to competitive Pokémon battling. It can turn the tide of a match, forcing players to carefully plan their teams and anticipate their opponent's potential mega choices.

Seriously, no gameplay?

At this early stage, it’s not surprising that Nintendo didn’t show us any actual footage of the game itself. Alas, it needs to save some goodies for future trailers. Still, we can probably guess the kind of things you’ll be able to do in Z-A based on the previous Legends game, Arceus. Think open-world exploration, action-packed battles, and a focus on research-based quests that unravel the secrets of Lumiose.

Pokémon galore

Eagle-eyed fans have already started listing all the Pokémon featured in the trailer (Nintendo)
Eagle-eyed fans have already started listing all the Pokémon featured in the trailer (Nintendo)

This being a Pokémon game, the trailer was stuffed with the cute critters, which fans quickly went about compiling.

Here are the ones they spotted, and others expected to make an appearance in the game: Ekans, Arbok, Pikachu, Raichu, Bellsprout, Weepinbell, Victreebell, Onix, Staryu, Starmie, Pinsir, Magikarp, Gyarados, Eevee, Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite, Spinarak, Ariados, Pichu, Espeon, Umbreon, Steelix, Heracross, Ralts, Kirlia, Gardevoir, Absol, Hippopotas, Hippowdon, Leafeon, Glaceon, Gallade, Sandile, Krokorok, Krookodile, Emolga, Fletchling, Fletchinder, Talonflame, Litleo, Pyroar, Flabébé, Floette, Florges, Skiddo, Gogoat, Pancham, Pangoro, Furfrou, Espurr, Meowstic, Honedge, Doublade, Aegislash, Skrelp, Dragalge, Sylveon, Hawlucha, Klefki.

Will it be on Switch 2?

Z-A’s 2025 release date could see it coincide with the expected launch of Nintendo’s rumoured new console. While the trailer made it clear that it will be on the current Switch, making it a launch title for the Switch 2 also makes sense. After all, what better way to kick off a new console cycle than with the biggest entertainment franchise in the world?

That also bodes well for the game itself. If the Switch 2 truly is the next-gen upgrade it’s rumoured to be, then Z-A could be the best-looking Pokémon game ever.

What about that mysterious logo?

A cosmic logo that could belong to the game’s villain (Nintendo)
A cosmic logo that could belong to the game’s villain (Nintendo)

Scattered throughout the trailer was a small, cosmic icon that looked like the symbol of an organisation. It was stamped on the secret documents shown at the start of the clip, leading some to believe that it could belong to the outfit in charge of redeveloping Lumiose City. Maybe, you work for them in the game - or could they be the villains?

The quasar-style logo also aligns with the franchise’s cosmic inspirations, from Pokémon with lunar origins like Clefairy and Clefable to past antagonists like Team Galactica.