Best answer: Yes, players will have the ability to trade in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Like in the games before it, players will need to visit the trading post in Jubilife Village to interact with one another and decide on their trades.
Trading won’t be going away
Before Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon games were pretty linear in direction and story. However, Game Freak is changing the formula with a more open-world title. The story takes place at the beginning of Pokémon history when the creatures were first studied. This means you are creating the very first Pokédex, categorizing all the Pokémon and gathering information about them.
As you explore the Hisui region, you will run into wild Pokémon as normal, but this time not all of them need to be battled to be caught. Some will be friendly and willingly approach you; you can even ride certain types. These are just some of the new features announced. We don’t have the whole story yet (there’s surprisingly little information about the game out there), so there may be more details to look forward to.
While there are some significant changes to the traditional games, there will be some familiarity, including how you’ll be able to trade Pokémon. The Pokémon Legends: Arceus website says there is a trading post in Jubilife Village that you can use; but that “a paid Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to enjoy certain features.”
It isn’t clear if this means you have to have a Nintendo Switch Online membership to trade or if this will be necessary for co-op, as the Nintendo listing says the game supports up to two players. However, looking at past Pokémon games on the Switch implies the Nintendo Switch Online membership will be required for trading. For example, while you could play Pokémon Sword and Shield without having the membership, you did need it to battle online, find other camps, and trade.
Previously, trading was the only way to receive or evolve some Pokémon. For example, in Pokémon Sword and Shield, you could have Gastly (the first of a three-chain evolution) evolve him to Haunter normally. However, until Haunter is traded, he won’t evolve into Gengar. There is no confirmation on if this will be the case or not in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Since the beginning of the franchise, Pokémon games launched pairs, like with Red and Blue or the most recent Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Each game has an exclusive line-up of Pokémon to encourage trading with other players to catch’em all. With only a single version of Pokémon Legends: Arceus available, that won’t be the case. However, there hasn’t been any news on whether or not there are evolutions you can only get via trading at all.
So does that mean evolution will change in Arceus?
While it hasn’t been confirmed if players will need to trade to evolve Pokémon, it’s speculated that evolution in the game may work differently in general. In the Japanese gameplay trailer, you can see a Cyndaquil at 2:29 that is at level 15, which is usually when he evolves in the main Pokémon games. It could be whoever was playing for the demo denied the evolution for some reason, but this could also indicate a different requirement.
We will be watching and will update as soon as there is confirmation on how trading will work. If you need some Pokémon in your life while you wait, there are plenty of other Pokémon titles to play on Switch.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
A semi-open world experience
This Pokémon story takes place in the very early days of Pokémon in the Hisui region, more recently known as the Sinnoh region. It will be up to you to explore the area, observe Pokémon in their natural environments, and look into what’s causing frenzied Pokémon.