What is the Arc Phone in Pokémon Legends: Arceus?

And why is there a smart phone in feudal Japan?

Image via the Pokémon Company

Pokémon Legends: Arceus promises to deliver major changes to the tried-and-true Pokémon RPG formula. However, the premise of Pokémon games isn’t being completely re-invented, and there are certain proxy devices being snuck in to make Pokémon Legends: Arceus more recognizable. One of those devices is the Arc Phone, which shares a design aesthetic with the game’s titular Mythical Pokémon.

According to the game’s official website, players will receive the Arc Phone near the beginning of the game. The Arc Phone contains “some sort of strange power” and does indeed have a mysterious connection to Arceus. Similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Sheikah Slate, the Arc Phone appears to function as an interactive map that also lists the player’s current missions. While not confirmed, it’s likely that the Arc Phone will serve as the game’s Pokédex as well.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set long before the modern era of the mainline Pokémon games, in a setting akin to feudal Japan. Despite this, the Arc Phone appears to be a Pokémon-god-powered version of a smartphone. Interestingly, Breath of the Wild’s Sheikah Slate is similarly powered by ancient technology.

However, there do appear to be limitations to the Arc Phone compared to a modern smartphone or PC. In Sword and Shield, for example, players can swap out the Pokémon in their party for ones in the boxes at any time. But before the advent of ultra-powerful handheld computers, the first several generations of Pokémon games would only allow players to swap out Pokémon at PCs in Pokémon Centers. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is going back to this style of gameplay. Players can only hold six Pokémon at a time, via Poké Balls on their person. The rest of their beloved friends will be held in pastures — just like the old days.