Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness came out for the GameCube in 2003 and 2005 respectively. Neither game is a mainline Pokemon title, but they still have a region to call home: a barren desert land called Orre. "Barren desert" describes a big swath of planet Earth, but English-speaking Pokemon fans recently received confirmation Orre is based specifically on Phoenix, Arizona.
Dr. Lava, Twitter's professor of obscure Pokemon history, confirmed Orre's sun-baked inspiration earlier today. Tsukasa Tawada, the music director for Pokemon Colosseum and Gale of Darkness revealed the link between Orre and Phoenix in a Japanese interview. Bulbapedia cited the inspiration, and Dr. Lava has since translated it for themselves. "The source was an untranslated Japanese interview, so I had this section translated into English," Dr. Lava says on Twitter. "Badabing."
Pokemon's Orre Region: Pokemon Colosseum & Gale of Darkness take place in the desert region of Orre -- a land so desolate, Pokemon have to be imported from outside regions. According to developers, "this urban, dry, mature region is modeled after Phoenix, Arizona in the USA." pic.twitter.com/364xWzjFIm— Dr. Lava's Lost Pokemon (@DrLavaYT) January 6, 2020
What's so special about the link between Orre and Arizona? Two things. First, nearly every Pokemon region is based on a real-world counterpart, and it's cool to learn about a lesser-known link. Second, Orre is depicted as being so harsh and barren in Pokemon Colosseum and Gale of Darkness that it's incapable of harboring native wild Pokemon. Almost every Pokemon in the game is imported from other regions, primarily Hoenn and Sinnoh.
As Twitter user "Alterking" points out, the TV show King of the Hill suggests humans only live on the baked, cracked soils of Arizona because we're an arrogant species. Still, Pokemon live everywhere from volcanic craters to toxic waste dumps to outer space. It's hard to believe a little hot sand would drive them off—even if it is rough, coarse stuff that gets everywhere.
If all this talk about deserts has you sweating a little bit, consider visiting the Galar region through Pokemon Sword and Shield. It's based on the United Kingdom, so everywhere you go is cool and well-hydrated. And if you dig obscure Pokemon facts, here's one: Nearly every Pokemon in Diamond and Pearl for the DS initially had distinct visual differences between males and females.