It’s been a few months since the release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl in November 2021. In a few days, another new Pokémon adventure will begin. This time, it’s a prequel to the game I mentioned above. Despite numerous fan theories and that infamous tweet in the past, Nintendo has never put out an official timeline for the Pokémon franchise. No, not even franchise creator Satoshi Tajiri has mentioned one. The many different games, as well as the anime, may make you think if it is connected in any way.
If you want to know the entire Pokémon franchise’s timeline concerning the core games, we will have to take a trip all the way back to 1996. The Nintendo Game Boy was late into its lifespan and the Nintendo 64 was to launch. The release of Pokémon Red and Green in Japan was so successful that Nintendo decided to bring it over to North America two and a half years later, where it also encountered the same success.
The core games are simple: your goal is to defeat all eight gym leaders, the Elite Four, and eventually the champion. The first game has since followed suit. It’s unknown what happened to Red after the events of Red and Green, which brings us to Gold and Silver. Right when you get to the Champion Lance and beat him, it later pulled the rug out from underneath you and revealed it was a direct sequel to Red and Green when you got to explore Kanto and eventually meet him, taking place three years after the events.
Ruby and Sapphire took a turn as it took place in a brand new world with a brand new cast of characters. Many people didn’t obviously know where in the timeline Ruby and Sapphire would go. However, many people knew that the remakes of Red and Green, FireRed and LeafGreen, revealed Ruby and Sapphire took place at the same time as Red and Green. What a mess. The same thing also happened with Diamond and Pearl, which took place in a brand new world with another new cast of characters at the same time as Gold and Silver!
Things also got complicated again after Black and White came out. It again took place in another brand new world with another new cast of characters. It was later revealed that it took place years after the events of Gold and Silver, alongside Diamond and Pearl. Black and White 2 revealed itself as a direct sequel taking place two years after the events. However, X and Y complicated things again by taking place at the same time as Black and White 2.
Then Sun and Moon came out, and was again a sequel to Black and White 2, as well as X and Y, taking place two years after those games. It also pulls the rug from underneath you again when an adult version of Red appears. It should be noted that Sun and Moon take place ten years after the events of Ruby and Sapphire. Sword and Shield was pretty much the same as it was a sequel to Sun and Moon as a Pokédex entry for Type: Null revealed its research notes were taken, leading to the creation of more of them.
Then we get to the very bottom with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. At first you may think it’s an ARPG spin-off to Diamond and Pearl, but it was revealed to be a prequel to Red and Green and chronologically the very first game! It does take place hundreds of years before the events. If that wasn’t enough, there exists remakes from the first four generations that can make things more confusing as it adds nods and cameos to other Pokémon games. Apparently, Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, the second remake of Generation I, is apparently the only remake that I know of that is canon, taking place six years before the events of Sun and Moon. You can basically say it’s a sequel to Gold and Silver, as well as Diamond and Pearl, and a prequel to Black and White. A midquel essentially!
We don’t know what will happen to the timeline as the years pass and new generations of Pokémon games come out. You can try to convince James Rolfe of Cinemassacre to make a Chronologically Confused video on Pokémon.