In a recent interview with Game Informer, Junichi Masuda, the Producer for Pokemon Sword and Shield, explained why fans shouldn’t pay too much attention to the timeline of the franchise. It seems as though the games grow their universe with each new release, rather than extend the overall timeline, meaning that Pokemon Gold and Silver could exist at the same time as Sword and Shield.
Pokemon Sword and Shield introduce the Galar region, a brand new location for Pokemon fans to explore. The games are also packed with brand new Pokemon to catch, some of which are regional variants of classic creatures like Ponyta. However, Pokemon Sword and Shield don’t necessarily advance the overall timeline for the games. Instead, the games expand the universe of Pokemon, bringing a brand new area into the fold that could well be placed on a larger map alongside other regions such as Kanto.
Unfortunately it’s never been clear how the Pokemon games are related to one another. Pokemon Red and Blue were definitely succeeded by Gold and Silver though, since those games take place, in part, in the same regions. The next games in the franchise however, Ruby and Sapphire, take place in an entirely new region, and never interact with regions from older games. It’s easy to think that because Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire looked better and had more Pokemon, they take place after all the previous games, but that’s obviously not the case.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are the eighth generation of mainline Pokemon games, and it would make sense to say that they take place after all the previous titles. However, Masuda suggests that things get a bit tricky if you try to untangle the storylines of the Pokemon games. One example of why this might happen is because of certain professors turning up in the wrong time or place, due to them being used across multiple games.
Does it Matter?
Personally I don’t think that we need a definitive timeline for the Pokemon games, as long as we know that they’re all taking place in the same world. Later games have done a better job of using new enemy factions and characters to separate them from previous releases, but honestly it’s never bothered me in the slightest. The only thing I would like to know, if I get to know anything, is the affect of certain Legendary Pokemon on the regions from other games during certain events. For example, towards the end of the story for Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, the world will either become much dryer or wetter, depending on the version. I’d like to see what happened in the Galar region while Groudon was stomping around, but that might be too much to ask for.
Let us know if you want a definitive timeline for the Pokemon franchise in the comments.