Game Freak’s new game Pokémon Legends: Arceus, launched for Nintendo Switch on Friday, January 28th. According to Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, it’s off to an even hotter start than other recent Pokémon games. In just three days, Nintendo has already sold nearly 1.43 million copies of the game in Japan alone.
For context, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl reached nearly 1.4 million sales in Japan in their first three days. Meanwhile, Pokémon Sword and Shield hit 1.36 million over the same stretch. The only game to top these Pokémon titles was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which moved a massive 1.88 million units back in March 2020.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is already breaking records
The success of Pokémon Legends: Arceus shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Pokémon is right there in the title, after all. But Arceus is anything but a traditional Pokémon game.
This is not a remake of a classic game, like Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and it’s not a modern take on the formula, like Sword and Shield. Rather, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a full-scale 3D open-world action game. Game Freak took a risk by straying from the beaten path, but it’s clearly paying off. It’s also proof that Pokémon fans are ready for a change.
Japan isn’t the only region where Arceus is breaking records. GamesIndustry.biz reports that Arceus just had the third-biggest UK launch of any Pokémon game ever released. It’s also the biggest launch for any Pokémon game with only one version, toppling Pokémon Yellow, which came out in 2000. These figures don’t include digital sales, but Arceus reportedly accounted for 50% of all boxed games sold in the UK last week.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the launch of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s going to be difficult for any game to top it. That said, the fact that Arceus came close is notable. The last two Pokémon games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, arrived less than three months ago. Nevertheless, Switch owners are already ready for more Pokémon.
Reviews for the latest Pokémon game
Despite being a departure from the previous games, Pokémon Legends: Arceus has received a rather warm reception. The new game currently has an 84% score on Metacritic, which is the highest score for any recent Pokémon title. That includes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Sword and Shield, New Pokémon Snap, and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
In fact, you have to go back to the 3DS era to find a higher score, as Pokémon Sun managed to top it with an 87%. Still, it’s clear that fans and critics alike appreciate the studio’s attempt to evolve the series after sticking with the same formula for decades.
It will be some time before we know just how well Pokémon Legends: Arceus sold around the world, but as IGN notes, figures from NPD should arrive soon. That might give us an idea of whether or not Arceus had one of the best global launches of any Switch game.