Can we talk about Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ Poké Balls for a second?


The new open-world Pokémon game looks like a great direction for the series, but setting it in ye olden times has implications that we need to discuss, too. Namely, what in the world is going on with these proto-Poké Balls present in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

Per the official description, the device pictured above differs from the balls we use in later games:

The Poké Balls of old were apparently built a little differently from the ones we know so well. They were made mostly of wood, and steam puffed from their tops when Pokémon were caught.​

Diehards like Polygon’s Julia Lee are quick to note that already, there’s some dissonance with what’s already been established about the Pokémon world. Namely, that hollowed-out ‘apricorns’ were what everyone used before standard Poké Balls. But let’s say that perhaps different regions had different approaches for capturing monsters way back when.

a Poké Ball in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, complete with wood and metal latch Image: Game Freak/Nintendo, The Pokémon Company

Is that … a zipper? Or maybe a latch? You’re telling me that, eventually, I’ll be able to catch and retain Arceus — the god of all Pokémon and an apparent key part of the story here — because a tiny piece of metal will keep him in place? I’m dead.

I know this doesn’t matter at all, but it’s still hilarious to think about. Steampunk Pokémon. Or, if you’d like, Poké Balls designed by Tetsuya Nomura. Imagine getting hit on the head with one of these wooden monsters? I love the absurdity of it all.