Forget Mega Evolution – Pokemon Legends Z-A needs to expand Scarlet & Violet’s most underrated idea

Noelle Corbett
Wiglett and Mega Lucario over Pokemon Legends Z-A trailer screenshot

Pokemon Legends Z-A should do more than just bring back Mega Evolution, as there’s an underexplored Gen 9 concept that could use more attention.

The news that Pokemon Legends Z-A will reintroduce Mega Evolution to the main series has largely shaped excitement surrounding the upcoming game. A fan-favorite mechanic, Mega Evolution has been absent from the mainline games since the start of the Nintendo Switch era, and its promised return has fans speculating what new Megas we could get this time around.

But while Mega Evolution is exciting, there is another feature that fills a similar role in the franchise that, while currently underused, deserves a chance to realize its full potential.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet introduced the concept fans have dubbed “convergent species” – new Pokemon that are similar to existing ones but distinct enough to be completely separate rather than regional variants.

It’s a compelling concept that adds further depth and realism to the Pokemon world, but with only three such evolutionary families in the game as of the DLC, it’s one that the franchise needs to explore further – and Pokemon Legends Z-A presents the perfect opportunity.

Convergent Pokemon species owe their existence to Mega Evolution

Mega evolution Pokemon screenshot.

It’s safe to say that Mega Evolution has had a greater impact on the Pokemon franchise extending beyond the two Gens it was a part of. Most obvious are the generational gimmicks that have tried to replicate Mega Evolution’s success: Z-Moves, Dynamax, Gigantamax, and Terastallization.

But less obvious than that, Mega Evolution’s impact can be felt in new Pokemon designs. One great aspect of Megas is that the new forms present a chance to revitalize old favorites with new designs outside of adding to the evolutionary family.

While no new Megas have been added since Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, that core concept has lived on. Gen 7 introduced regional variants, with Pokemon like Alolan Vulpix and Alolan Raichu gaining new types, designs, and lore.

The idea that Pokemon could look and behave differently from region to region was praised for adding some realism to the Pokemon world. Many loved how the game often used real-world ecology and logic to explain the new forms, such as Alolan Vulpix becoming an Ice-type because it had to adapt to the snowy mountain peaks of Alola.

Of course, this first batch of regional variants was solely focused on Gen 1 ‘mons, as Sun and Moon released around the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise. Since then, though, the concept has evolved (no pun intended) to span Galarian, Hisuian, and Paldean forms, introducing new twists along the way like evolutions exclusive to regional variants such as Sirfetch’d, Cursola, and Runerigus.

That brings us to Scarlet and Violet, which added two similar but separate spins on the concept of revisiting old Pokemon. The first and most prominent are the Paradox Pokemon, which appear to be ancient or futuristic relatives of existing Pokemon. Of course, given how intricately tied these are to Scarlet and Violet’s story, it’s unlikely we’ll see more anytime soon.

The second, and more replicable, is the idea of convergent species, which are more like regional forms with a twist: These creatures are distinct enough to be considered separate species rather than versions of the same Pokemon. Gameplay-wise, the distinction is simple; while regional variants essentially replace the original, convergent species can exist in the same region together.

It’s a compelling idea, but one that goes underutilized in Scarlet and Violet. The base game introduced just four convergent Pokemon from two evolutionary lines: Wiglett, Wugtrio, Toedscool, and Toedscruel. The DLC added another duo in Poltchageist and Sinistcha, keeping the idea alive but still leaving it woefully underused.

Why convergent species are perfect for Pokemon Legends Z-A

A wireframe image shows Gyrados swimming through Lumiose City

Beyond being a smart concept that adds to the franchise’s world and its lore, doubling down on convergent species would make a lot of sense in Pokemon Legends Z-A. While a lot about the game is still unclear, including whether it takes place in the past or future, we know that the game is set entirely in Lumiose City.

This is an unusual step for the series, as you normally cannot encounter Pokemon in towns and cities. We also know the game involves Lumiose City going through an urban redevelopment plan, which could be connected to the appearance of wild Pokemon.

Regardless of how it works, it’s clear Lumiose City and the surrounding area are undergoing significant change, creating the kinds of circumstances in which creatures might need to adapt to survive. That theming alone provides the perfect basis for adding more convergent species and regional variants, all to better reflect how changing environments have ecological impacts.

On a meta-level, too, adding more convergent species makes sense for a game like Pokemon Legends Z-A. Games like these that revisit past regions have a lot in common with Mega Evolution, convergent species, and similar in-game concepts, as all are meant to revisit Pokemon’s past while incorporating new ideas.

The excitement surrounding Mega Evolution’s return is understandably overshadowing just about everything else to do with Pokemon Legends Z-A. Still, it’s not the only idea the game needs to further explore.

Between convergent species going underutilized in Scarlet and Violet and the Lumiose City Urban Redevelopment Plan providing the perfect groundwork to explore more ecological changes in the Pokemon world, it would be a shame if Pokemon Legends Z-A overlooked this opportunity.

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About The Author

Noelle is a Senior Games Writer for Dexerto who can usually be found playing an RPG. Her favorites include Persona, Pokemon, and DnD. When she isn't writing or gaming, Noelle is probably making silly noises at her dog. She can be reached at