Pokemon Game Timeline Breakdown

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are now some of the most heavily anticipated games for the core series. With the last Pokemon Direct in everyone’s minds, everyone is getting ready to either mount Koraidon or Miraidon. Honestly, getting the double pack is entirely worth it here. That being said, the Pokemon games have not only has a long, rich history in the lives of fans but a long history in their own world. To most kids, it may seem that the Pokemon games take place sequentially. But in actuality, generational release order is not the series’ chronological order. This Pokemon game timeline breakdown will give an overview of the core series timeline.

This article will place each game pair in chronological order and break down how many years they are from each other. If there isn’t a specific time confirmed by Gamefreak or the Pokemon company, the placement will be left vague.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

Akari and Rei, the ancestors of Lucas and Dawn that the player journeys alongside of.

First off in this Pokemon game timeline breakdown is Legends Arceus. 298 years from Generation 1, this story is technically the first core series game in the main Pokemon Universe. Players explore the ancient region of Hisui as a member of the Galaxy Expedition Team. Tasked with meeting every known Pokemon by Arceus, players will rise up through the ranks, help both the Diamond and Pearl clans, and stop Volo from throwing off the balance of the world with Giratina to meet Arceus. Characters such as Commander Kamado, Adaman, and Irida called this era their home. A stellar game, players take control of Rei or Akari, Lucas and Dawn’s ancestors, to play this part of the story out.

Important: Keep in mind that while the chronological placements of the events of Legends Arceus take place 300 years in the past, the game’s prologue reveals that Lucas or Dawn, the protagonist of Diamond and Pearl are sent back into the past by god themselves. So technically, the player works alongside Akari or Rei while playing as their descendants. Therefore, Legends Arceus is a story that takes place before and after gen 4. Fancy that. By the way, sorry for the headache.

Generation 1 and Generation 3: Red and Blue, Ruby and Sapphire, and Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee

Red (Center), Blue (Right), and Green/Leaf (Left)
Brendan and May

Now, this is the true beginning of this Pokemon game timeline breakdown. According to a deleted tweet by a Gamefreak employee, Generation 1 and Generation 3 are contemporaneous. In layman’s terms, they occur at the same time. While Red and Blue are earning their gym badges, completing the Pokedex for Professor Oak, and dealing with Team Rocket, Brendan or May are on their journey dealing with Team Magma or Team Aqua while completing their Pokedexes for Professor Birch. Red and Blue leave on their journey at age 11 while Brendan and May start off at age 12.

Remake games such as Yellow, Emerald, Firered and Leafgreen, and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire also take place at this time and are considered to be alternate universes. Differences include the existence of Jessie, James, and their Meowth, the re-inclusion of Green/Leaf, the gen 1 female playable character, and this world’s Brendan and May taking on both Team Magma and Aqua. Rayquaza is also more present in this story and Wallace is the champion instead of Steven. In the Omega games, Steven is more present while being the champion again and Zinnia is introduced through the Delta Episode. In fact, she confirmed the core series to be a multiverse.

Lastly, the Let’s GO games complicate matters further by being full alternate universes from both gen 1 and Firered and Leafgreen. Red, Blue, and Green went on their journeys before Team Rocket became active and are implied to be former champions or they never became champions. The player characters are Chase and Elaine with their rival being Trace. They also get to choose Pikachu or Eevee as their starters instead of Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. Chase and Elaine seem to be 11, making this universe’s Red, Blue, and Green 12 years old.

Generations 2 and 4: Gold and Silver and Diamond and Pearl

Ethan and Kris
Lucas and Dawn with varying designs and skin tones from BDSP

About three years after Red, Blue, Green, Brendan, May, Chase, and Elaine’s escapades, Gold, Silver, Diamond, and Pearl take place, also contemporaneous. Ethan, Lucas, or Dawn head out on their journeys through Johto and Sinnoh (present-day Hisui) respectively. Ethan is 11 years old here, making the previous characters 14.

In Johto, Ethan takes on all eight gyms, completes their Pokedexes for Professor Elm, and thwarts the return of Team Rocket led by Archer. They also take on their rival, Silver, Giovanni, the former leader of Team Rocket’s son. From there, he heads to Kanto and defeats all eight of their gyms as well, including Blue, the new eighth gym leader. Ethan’s journey ends when he beats Red on top of Mt. Silver.

Likewise, in Sinnoh, Lucas or Dawn head out on their journey for Professor Rowan alongside their rival, Barry. Their journey involves beating their eight gyms along with taking on Team Galactic. Once they beat their gyms and champion, Cynthia, they take on the Battle Tower. Lucas and Dawn are assumed to be 11 as well.

Similarly, Pokemon Crystal, Heartgold, Soulsilver, Platinum, Brilliant Diamond, and Shining Pearl take place during this time in alternate universes. The differences are broken down here:

Crystal: 

Kris, a female protagonist, is present alongside Ethan in this world. Suicune has a bigger role and the character Eusine is introduced.

Heartgold and Soulsilver: 

Lyra, Kris’ replacement in the Johto remakes

Changes from Crystal are implemented and Kris is replaced with another female character, Lyra. In this world, Ethan and Lyra are brought back in time to see where Giovanni was during the Goldenrod City Radio Tower takeover (time travel really is all over the place in this world. Does this make the Johto and Sinnoh protagonists god tier?).

Platinum:

Lucas, Dawn, and Barry have new outfits and a new Team Galactic Commander, Charon, is added. The climax with Dialga and Palkia is completely revamped with Giratina becoming the focus of it. The Distortion World is added as a plot essential location. Lastly, Looker is included as an essential character.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: 

Sadly, these remakes take leaps backward instead of forwards. They are one-to-one recreations of the original Diamond and Pearl games with an expanded Underground and the addition of Ramanas Park replacing Pal Park.

A few years later, Legends Arceus takes place between Gen 4 and Gen 5.

Generation 5, Part 1: Black and White

A recently confirmed 12 years later, the events of Black and White 1 take place. 14-year-olds Hilbert/Hilda, Cheren, and Bianca set out to become the champions of Unova. On the way, they deal with the mysterious N and the evil Team Plasma led by his father, Ghetsis. While Team Plasma seems like the Pokemon equivalent of PETA, this is a ruse to hide Ghetsis’ bout for world domination. After Team Plasma is defeated, the player helps them round up the remaining sages of Team Plasma and become the champions, leaving before Black and White 2 to pursue N.

Generation 5, Part 2 and Generation 6: Black and White 2 and X and Y

Two years after Black and White 1, Black and White 2 and X and Y happen contemporaneously. In new Unova, Nate or Rosa leave Aspertia City with their rival, Hugh, to become the next Champion of Unova and deal with a new Team Plasma, who also happened to have wronged Hugh by stealing his sister’s Purrloin. In this era of Unova, Cheren and Roxie are two new gym leaders and Bianca is now Professor Juniper’s assistant. Iris has also replaced Alder as the current champion.

Likewise in X and Y, trainers Calem or Serena, along with their friends Tierno, Shauna, and Trevor leave their hometown of Vaniville to travel around Kalos and beat their eight gyms. They also have to deal with Lysandre and Team Flare, who basically want to create a beautiful new world without Pokemon (the worst plan in the series). There are no remakes that would take place at this point in time that is contemporaneous with Black and White 2.

Generation 7: Sun and Moon

Two years after Black and White 2 and X and Y, the events of Sun and Moon take place. 10-year-old trainer Elio or Selene leaves across Alola’s four islands to complete the trials and defeat the kahunas chosen by the Tapus. While on their journey, they have to deal with the shenanigans of Team Skull, along with stopping the misguided actions of Lusamine and her seemingly altruistic Aether Foundation. Elio and Selene go on to become Alola’s first champions.

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon also take place here in an alternate universe. Here are the differences between Sun and Moon and their remakes.

  • The legendary Pokemon, Necrozma, takes a bigger role in the story, becoming the new antagonist and focus of Lusamine’s goals.
  • The Ultra Recon Squad is brought in as a supporting faction.
  • Trials are revamped and changed up from the original base game.
  • Lusamine goes from the game’s main antagonist to a misguided supporting anti-heroine.
  • Ultra Space is expanded and Ultra Wormholes make the world more explorable.
  • Rainbow Rocket happens in the game’s post-game.

Generation 8: Sword and Shield

Finally, the last part of this Pokemon game timeline breakdown. After an unspecified amount of time, the events of Sword and Shield take place. Pokemon Trainer Victor or Gloria set off with their best friend, Hop to become the champion of Galar. Along the way, they deal with the shenanigans of Team Yell and end up having to stop Chairman Rose from recreating the Darkest Day. Sword and Shield do not have any other games that happen contemporaneously to it.

Where in the Timeline are Scarlet and Violet?

Easy answer, no one knows yet. At this point, anything goes and players are encouraged to analyze character dialogue or lore revealing documents to put it together for themselves. Nevertheless, this Pokemon Timeline Breakdown has given all hardcore fans and fanfiction writers the confirmed timeline of the games. This article will be updated when Gamefreak confirms where Scarlet and Violet fall on the timeline. Until then, keep training.


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