Alright, let's get this done. I have a theory that all the games in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series are connected historically, and also that the player is the same human every time. This may be further compounded with some examples in the series (even some you might not expect).
So, the way I see it, the timeline goes:
- Rescue Team
- Super (tentatively)
Era #1: Explorers
So our adventure begins here. The world is still fresh and new, and the Pokémon need to go out and explore what’s out there. This leads to the creation of exploration teams and guilds, which eventually lead us to the events of Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. We’ll be getting to this later.
Era #2: Gates
This takes place many years after the events of Explorers. The world has pretty much been completely explored, but now the problem of territorial disputes arises. Tension builds and negativity spreads. Hundreds of species of Pokémon are wiped out (explaining the pitiful lack of Pokémon in Gates to Infinity). The Bittercold begins to slowly destroy the hope of the world, and the Voices of Life must find a way to stop it. This is actually where the player makes their first appearance. Throughout the game, the player is told that other humans were sent to the Pokémon world to stop the Bittercold, but that they are the only one left. When the player finally stops the Bittercold, their role comes to an end and they’re sent back to the human world. The partner decides to go to the Hill of Universal Order in an attempt to bring the player back. This is where things get a little interesting. This is the only game in the whole series thus far that gives you the choice of whether or not you want your character to come back to the Pokémon world. The player, knowing that his return to the Pokémon world would cause untold distortions and problems down the line, can either choose to leave entirely, or request that the Voices of Life recreate their Pokémon body in order to ease the partner’s heartbreak. After this, the player returns to their normal life.
Between Gates and Rescue Team
When the player returns, he notices that virtually no time has passed since he left. (This can also be evidenced in the PMD manga, “Ginji’s Rescue Team,” where the main character, Ginji, returns to the human world within one night after being in the Pokémon world seemingly for many months.) After spending some time in the human world again, the player is contacted by another Voice of Life: Gardevoir. She tells them that the world of Pokémon is in trouble once more and asks for their help based on their success against the Bittercold. The player agrees, but asks that their memories be erased, so as to “clear both heart and mind.” This is most likely due to the player not wanting their emotions towards their former team in Gates getting in the way of their mission.
Era #3: Rescue Team
When the player returns to the Pokémon world, many years have passed since the Bittercold was destroyed. Peace was gradually restored to the world, and many more species returned from extinction. The world has been almost completely explored, and the exploration teams of days past have been reformed into rescue teams. The player wakes up without any memory, and finds another partner to help them on their journey. Near the end of the journey, it is revealed that the player was sent to save the world from a falling star set to crash into the planet. This could be due to the power of the Bittercold in Gates, which could distort gravity in its most powerful form. This caused a shift in the polarity of the planet, which lined it up with the falling star in Rescue Team. The other natural disasters were caused by Gengar, the human from the Ninetails Legend. The player is once again victorious, and is sent back to the human world, with the Voices of Life once again providing a proxy body for his friends.
After Rescue Team
This is where things really start to go wild. There is a significant branch in the timeline after the events of the Rescue Team games, and it all hinges on the partner, believe it or not.
This is the more likely of the two outcomes. If the partner in Rescue Team is any Pokémon besides Treecko, then the timeline continues to Super Mystery Dungeon. The amount of Pokémon species skyrockets, and the majority of the world is accessible. The events of Super Mystery Dungeon take place. (Since the game isn’t out yet, I’m unable to go into specifics. I may even have to change its spot in the timeline based on the plot, but this seems like the best place to put it for now.)
If the partner is Treecko, the timeline heads into the ruined future of Explorers. The human is asked by Gardevoir to come back to the Pokémon world and help investigate the disappearance of the Time Gears in a far-off, forgotten land. They do this, but this time they return in human form, since their proxy Pokémon body is still alive. Due to the distortion of spacetime in allowing a human to travel to the Pokémon world in human form, the player acquires an ability that would otherwise be impossible to possess: the Dimensional Scream. The player finds Treecko, who has since evolved into Grovyle, and proves his identity by showing him one of their Rescue Badges (this can again be supplemented by “Ginji’s Rescue Team,” in which Ginji is shown to have his Rescue Badge when he returns to the human world). The player and partner team up once more to stop the planet’s paralysis, but they ultimately fail. In a last ditch effort, they team up with Celebi to travel to the distant past using the Passage of Time in order to return the Time Gears to the Temporal Tower and restore their future. However, when they get through the Passage, Darkrai attacks them, causing the player to transform into a Pokémon and lose their memories once again. The events of Explorers take place.
Era #1: Explorers
The player wakes up and finds the partner, whom they form an exploration team with. Eventually, they learn that someone is going around stealing the Time Gears and causing the planet’s paralysis. It is soon discovered to be none other than Grovyle. The player and partner team up with Dusknoir and apprehend Grovyle, but Dusknoir betrays them and drags them into the future. Grovyle eventually tells them that he lost his partner when they travelled back in time to get the Time Gears. He also mentions that his partner was a human and that they possessed the Dimensional Scream. The player and Grovyle are finally reunited. Along with the partner from Explorers, they travel to the Hidden Land and return the Time Gears, stopping Dusknoir and Primal Dialga along the way. The player then disappears due to the future being corrected, and
WE HAVE A PARADOX LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Dialga sees fit to bring the player back. The player and Explorers partner graduate from Wigglytuff’s guild and begin more exploration work. Eventually they come into conflict with Darkrai, who caused the player’s memory loss and transformation at the beginning of Explorers’ adventure. After defeating him, the player decides that he must return to the human world. He leaves his Pokémon body behind again,and has Dialga and Palkia return him as a human to his own time.
Side Note/Easter Egg?
In Blue/Red Rescue team, Alakazam makes mention of a legendary rescuer/explorer named Lucario. The highest rescue rank you can achieve is also the Lucario rank. If you played as a Riolu in Explorers of Sky, this is very likely to be your character!
SO. That’s the gist of my theory. Now let’s tackle some issues. Let me know what you think and we can hopefully iron out some of the inconsistencies!