Pokémon Legends: Arceus Release Time: When Will the Game Be Playable?

Gamers can’t wait to play Pokémon Legends: Arceus and experience a bold new direction for the Pokémon franchise. Here’s when you can start.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Photo: Nintendo

Longtime fans and newcomers to the Pokémon franchise have been waiting patiently for Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and according to many reviews, the game is a fantastic experience that only occasionally stumbles due to its new, untested direction. Sounds like Legends: Arceus was worth the wait. Fortunately, the long wait is almost over!

Pokémon Legends: Arceus launches on Jan. 28, but won’t be playable in every region of the world at the same time. So what time does the game unlock if you’re in the US or UK?

If we use previous first-party Nintendo game releases to make an educated guess, it’s probably safe to assume the game will officially release and be playable at midnight in your local time zone on Jan. 28, give or take a minute. This applies to audiences in Europe and United States gamers on the East Coast.

There’s only one exception: West Coast gamers get to play the game earlier, from their perspective at least. Once the East Coast hits midnight, it will only be 9 pm PT on Jan. 27 in the West Coast, but the game will most likely be available there at that time — again going by previous first-party releases.

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However, if Jan. 28 can’t come early enough for you, you can always cheat a bit. Sites such as Dual Shocker and Nintendo Life claim that you can change your Switch’s region to Australia/New Zealand/East Asia and download the game immediately since the game is already available there. Of course, according to Nintendo Life, you need to set up an Australian account first, and the game will be linked to that account, but once you have it, you can explore the Hisui region to your heart’s content.

But there’s a caveat: all this only applies to the digital version of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. If you want a physical copy and haven’t pre-ordered one yet, you will have to pick one up at your local retailer, and if they don’t offer midnight release parties, you will have to wait until the morning.

However, even if you pre-ordered a physical copy, there’s no guarantee you will receive it on Jan. 28. Due to supply chain and shipping disruptions, many pre-ordered copies will be late. For instance, anyone who bought their game early from the official Pokémon Center store so they could get a free Arceus plush (which is adorable, by the way) will receive their game anywhere between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4. This is an unfortunate situation, as gamers who plan to visit a GameStop or Best Buy in person will probably get to play Pokémon Legends: Arceus before those who pre-ordered it online. But remember, the game is worth the wait.

See you all in Hisui!