The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero: Things to be excited for in Pokémon’s new DLC

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The recent Nintendo Direct gave players a surprising look at what to expect from the upcoming Pokemon DLC: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero, providing context on the stories behind both The Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk.

Pokemon fans that have been starving for more information regarding the DLCs for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet finally got a substantial update on the upcoming Hidden Treasure of Area Zero with the release of a new Nintendo Direct this past week. To the surprise of many, Nintendo decided to start their showcase with a new trailer for the upcoming release(s) by Game Freak.

In terms of new information, the trailer gave more insight into the story behind both the Teal Mask and The Indigo Disk. For the former, we’ve learned that the player character’s adventure will focus around the story of the Loyal Three Pokemon (Okidogi, Munkidori, and Fezandipiti) that protect the village of Mossui Town in Kitakami. In the trailer we can a mountain that looks like a face with a gaping, toothy mouth, likely the hope of the Pokémon Ogrepon, suspected to be the primary adversary the player character will face, with the help of the Loyal Three Pokémon. With the festival of Masks taking place while the player character visits Kitakami, we can expect the story to unravel in such a way that the player character helps defend the island and it’s people from a threat that involves the aforementioned ‘mons.

The Indigo Disk will revolve around the player character embarking on a trip to a foreign school called the Blueberry Academy, a facility designed to help trainers flourish in the art of battling. The academy is also home to a location called the Terarium Dome, which will serve as a diverse area for the player character to encounter the Pokemon set to return in the DLC. The end of the trailer also foreshadows Terapagos and its involvement in the story. The mysterious Pokemon is rumored to have a direct hand in the terastalization phenomenon of the Paldea region.

The trailer has given players many reasons to be excited. Particularly for those who enjoyed the open world, explorable nature of the base games, the prospect of more areas to explore is always a welcome and exciting one. The inclusion of both the Island of Kitakami and the Blueberry Academy will allow players the opportunity to visit portions of the Pokemon world that are completely new and unknown. Learning about the cultures and backgrounds of these new locations will be very interesting, particularly in Kitakami’s case with it’s basis in Japanese culture and mythology.

The DLCs will also offer much needed closure on the open ended conclusion to the base games. The story was a uniquely somber one, with dark themes looming over how the story unraveled. The conclusion left some many questions about the phenomenon of terastalization, and the nature of the research conducted by Professor Sada/ Euro, depending on your version of the game.

In a recent article we also explored the some changes or additions Game Freak could make to improve both general game functions and overall post-game content. One of those mentioned changes was adding a more immersive battle facility, which the Blueberry Academy may indeed offer. The trailer showed a stadium like portion of the academy that will hopefully serve as a location for a more immersive and interesting re-playable tournament than the one offered in the base game. I am hopeful that there may even be a function to invite powerful trainers past and present to take part in said tournament. It would make sense that an academy focused on battling would have trainers from all over the world visit to help enrich and train students in the art of Pokemon battles.

The concept of the Terarium Dome is also a very enticing one, with so many Pokemon allegedly making a return in these games. Game Freak must have learned from the backlash faced after so many Pokemon were cut from Sword and Shield. A comprehensive list of rumored returning Pokemon is available here, and the Terarium Dome lends credence to the idea of increased diversity, especially considering the different biomes we’ll be able to explore. Previous Pokemon games introduced the idea of rotating diversity via safari zones, which depended on different upgrades or items players added to the area(s) in question. We could very realistically see a similar system here, depending on how vast the dome really is. One of the missions the player could embark on could very well be to help the school increase diversity in the Dome, which could be a fun concept for Game Freak to explore.

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While the information we have is still relatively sparse, it’s interesting to speculate on what direction the two parts of the DLC will take. The information Nintendo and Game Freak have offered to date really opens the door to many fun and interesting possibilities, but it will be dependent on Game Freak to seize the moment and really give players an experience they can fondly remember and re-play years down the line.