Ultra Space Links the Main Series Pokémon Games with the Mystery Dungeon series
(This is just a theory I posted onto r/GameTheorists)
Given the scope of the series, it's no surprise the Pokémon has gotten it's fair share of spin-offs. From Pokémon Ranger, to PokéPark, to Pokkén Tournament, each spin-off has it's own unique vibes to it. Most of the games take place in either far away regions, such as Pokémon Ranger with Fiore or Pokkén Tournament with Ferrum, whereas others such as PokéPark exist in alternate universes separate from the main series. Because of that, you would expect that the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon subseries of games would fall into the same latter category, but there's something kind of amiss about it.
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games follow an isekai sort of formula. The basic premise is that the protagonist, a human, has been transported to a world inhabited only by Pokémon and transformed into one too. After meeting a partner Pokémon and most likely joining some sort of team, the protagonist must traverse various dungeons alongside their partner Pokémon in order to find a way back home. That all sounds well and good, but the thing that used to confuse me is that the Pokémon of the Mystery Dungeon world know about humans. They acknowledge humans, but only as fictional beings.
"Humans don't exist anywhere except in fairy tales, or that's what I always thought."
- The Partner, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity
(I'm just gonna source the entire game's transcript here you can Ctrl + F it)
I always wondered how the Pokémon of the Mystery Dungeon world knew about humans if humans don't exist in there world, but I would write it off as a silly "Hee hoo, Pokémon fictional in real world, human fictional in Pokémon world" gaff. That was until a very crucial detail in the most popular games in the subseries hit me like a truck.
(MAJOR SPOILERS for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky/Time/Darkness ahead)
So, in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky/Time/Darkness, the big plot twist half way through the game is that the amnesiac protagonist who could only remember their name and that they were human is actually from a ruined future, fighting alongside their partner Pokémon Grovyle against the traitorous Dusknoir who used their amnesiac state to gain their trust and vilify Grovyle. That sounds pretty straight forward until the glaring issue becomes apparent. The protagonist is from the ruined future of the MYSTERY DUNGEON WORLD. When you go to the ruined future, there's no other humans in sight, and it's quite clearly a desolate version of the world you previously ventured through. Considering that there's no other humans anywhere, only very few Pokémon, it's unlikely that there's just a secret society of humans there. So how did the protagonist, a human, get to the Mystery Dungoen world? Well, that question remained unanswered for over 9 years until Generation 7 of Pokémon finally gave us enough hints to put together the puzzle.
Generation 7, Sun and Moon, introduced the concept of Ultra Space: a spatial realm that connects a bunch of alternate dimensions and worlds together. Ultra Space can be accessed by Ultra Wormholes, which are commonly opened by the Light Trio (Solgaleo, Lunala, and Necrozma) but can also occur naturally. Canonically, there have been cases of people falling into Ultra Wormholes (deemed as "Fallers") as well as cases where societies have been formed within Ultra Wormholes such is the case with Ultra Megalotropolis. Considering every Ultra Space area you visit in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon contains at least one Pokémon and rarely humans, it's not out of the question that one world in Ultra Space was inhabited by Pokémon exclusively who wound up making themselves an entire society that would go on to become the world of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Perhaps the protagonist from the Explorers games was a "Faller" who never actually returned to the main series world. That's not all, however, as another bizarre connection between the main series games and Mystery Dungeon subseries exists.
In the aforementioned Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky/Time/Darkness games, in order to evolve a Nosepass, you require an item known as the Coronet Rock.
" A rock that radiates a peculiar energy, rumored only to exist on Mt. Coronet, a place that no one knows anything about. It allows certain kinds of Pokémon to evolve."
- In-game item description
Notice that it directly refers to Mt. Coronet in the tool-tip. Mt. Coronet is not an area in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. None of the Mystery Dungeon games allow you to go there. Why? Because Mt. Coronet is from the Sinnoh region of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. The thing that strikes me as odd is the fact that they know what Mt. Coronet is, but don't know anything about it. This could be one of two things.
A) The inhabitants of the PMD world heard about Mt. Coronet via Fallers and coined the name "Coronet Rock" after this mysterious, other-worldly place.
B) The PMD world is an alternate version of the main game's world in the same way that the Ultra Ruin in an alternate future version of Hau'oli City from Alola and Mt. Coronet actually exists there.
Both potential answers still point to the Mystery Dungeon world being connected to the main series world via Ultra Space.
One last thing that isn't necessarily evidence, but it's a neat thing that may potentially be a hint at what my theory proposes. Canonically, Ultra Wormholes were discovered by a man named Mohn, husband of Lusamine of the Aether Foundation and father to Lillie and Gladion. Gladion in particular is the main rival of Pokémon Sun and Moon and has a bizarre connection to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. Both his encounter and battle themes are guitar remixes of the Run Away, Fugitives theme from the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team. The main series games have never really gone out of their way to reference the Mystery Dungeon series, so it's quite interesting that the son of the man who discovered Ultra Space has a guitar remix of one of the most pivotal songs from the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon as his theme.
So yeah, that's pretty much it. I know that not all of my evidence is necessarily damning, but I feel like there's enough there to have a fun time discussing it. That's what making these posts is all about; proposing fun new ways to think about some of our favorite games, considering things you didn't think possible, and mainly just getting to talk about the things we enjoy. After all... it's just a theory.
A GAME THEORY!
I will never get tired of ending theories with that.
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