We’re Positively Giddy About Pokémon’s Upcoming ‘Scarlet’ and ‘Violet’—Here’s Everything We Know
I continue to be absolutely beside myself about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the new entries into the mainline Pokémon RPG franchise (which were announced earlier this year). That announcement itself was a huge surprise, straight-up knocking me off my chair. Pokémon Legends Arceus was just released in January. And we are getting a mainline game which takes inspiration and lessons from Arceus this year?! Truly, the Pokémon God Arceus itself must be smiling upon us.
The last two Pokémon Directs have revealed a ton of new information about the games. So let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Pokémon Legends Arceus was notable for many reasons, but perhaps chief among them is that it revisited Gen IV’s Sinnoh region in the ancient past, where it was known as Hisui. But Pokémon Scarlet and Violet take place, like all the “traditional” mainline Pokémon entries, in a completely new region: the Paldea region. All Pokémon regions are modeled after real places (“Kanto” is just a prefecture in Japan, straight-up), and Paldea seems to take deep inspiration from Spain.
From Pokémon’s official map, Paldea looks huge, with the region’s biggest metropolis right at the center. Paldea distinguishes itself with outdoor Pokémon Centers—a series first which will definitely streamline things. You’ll also be settled up with a Rotom Phone, which has your Pokédex and a map of Paldea as apps. Just like real life! Hooray?
Let’s begin with the crew I look forward to most in every new Pokémon game: the starters. Now, personally speaking, my all-time favorite starter is Rowlet. But, as a group of three, I honestly think Scarlet and Violet‘s starters are the best since the OG classic group of Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur. I mean…LOOK AT THEM. I made them the header of this piece because they deserve it. Scroll up and gaze upon their greatness.
Usually, I know which one will be my best friend right off the bat. But I’m having a genuinely hard time choosing between these three very special friends. We’ve got Sprigatito, the Grass Cat Pokémon; Fuecoco, the Fire Croc Pokémon; and, of course, Quaxly, the Duckling Pokémon (ie, the water-type).
After today’s trailer, I’m presently leaning toward Sprigatito (maybe there’s some Stray influencing that feeling). But previously, I was beginning to lean Fuecoco. Meanwhile, Quaxly is “earnest and tidy.” Look at the little coif. I just can’t. I feel like I know Quaxly among my human friends.
The cover art of any mainline Pokémon game shows off the game’s legendaries, and Scarlet and Violet are no exception. They do, however, seem to be an exception to the rule in another major way. Previously, Pokémon RPGs have built up to the catching of the region’s legendary Pokémon as one of the climactic events. But in Scarlet and Violet, it appears you get access to the legendaries very early on. Because they are your motorcycles. Literally. They can also fly, because why the hell not?
Scarlet‘s legendary is Koraidon (on the right) and Violet’s is Miraidon (on the left). “Korai” means ancient, and, as you can see, Koraidon has features which look like motorcycle wheels, but it runs on its four legs all the same. “Mirai,” on the other hand, means future. And Miraidon’s limbs fold up like a robot’s and seemingly emit some biological version of jet fuel so it can scoot you around on bonafide wheels. Just… yes. Yes.
Anyway, these legendaries are fantastic, and I love them.
The Other New ‘Mon
Even aside from the excellent starters, every new Pokémon announced for Scarlet and Violet has been a bonafide banger. Like, I’m going to come right out and say we’re looking at some series-best Pokémon right here. And I’m sure the Pokémon community is going to take that really well.
In the first in-depth look into the game, we learned about two absolutely perfect new early-game Pokémon: Smoliv and Lechonk. The internet broke out into outpourings of love for these two wonderful friends and their completely, beautifully absurd names. There was also Pawmi, an electric-type who is cute and fine.
The second game trailer introduced a new, similarly immaculately ridiculous Pokémon for the internet to latch onto: Fidough. Fidough is a puppy made out of bread. According to the official Scarlet and Violet website: “Fidough ferments things in its vicinity using the yeast in its breath. Said yeast is useful for cooking, so this Pokémon has been protected by people since long ago.” This might be a series peak, guys. Fairy-type?! Unbelievable.
We were also introduced to Cititan, a big intimidating “Terra Whale” icy companion who is fine, and a MUDDY POISONOUS WOOPER. Beautiful. Excellent. Greatness incarnate. We don’t know what other regional varieties the Paldea region has to offer or how big its Pokédex will be. But I’m feeling good so far.
Another first for the series: Scarlet and Violet will each feature different professors. And they are both very hot. (Also a first. Sorry, Professor Kukui—you were trying too hard with the whole “jacket with no shirt” thing.) Even their names are pretty sexy: Professor Sada (the extremely cool lady) for Scarlet and Professor Turo (the beautiful hipster man whose starter is absolutely Quaxly) for Violet. Scarlet and Violet take place at an academy, so the NPCs are populated by a bunch of kindly academic-types.
Your rival is Nemona. She’s the same in both games. But—surprise!—she is also very good-looking. Remember, this region’s based on Spain. A friend who spent a year in Spain has assured me on multiple occasions that everyone there is very good-looking. This is not at all anecdotal! It is 100 percent TRUE.
The second trailer gives us a look at a couple gym-leaders, too—specifically, the ice-type gym leader, Grusha. But rather than dig into the few we’ve gotten to know, let’s use this as a way to pivot to talking about the gameplay.
For the first time ever in a Pokémon game, Scarlet and Violet will be completely open-world. This means that you can tackle the eight gyms in any order. It’s the stuff of Pokémon nerd dreams. We’ve been wanting this for ages. I’m honestly still in shock.
Furthermore, the “traditional” gym track will be just one of three main storylines Scarlet and Violet have to offer. And you can begin embarking on whichever of the three you please. Game Freak is still very much keeping the details of the other two stories under wraps, though. Although something about a “treasure hunt” has been teased.
Multiplayer raids will stay on from Sword and Shield. But it seems like Scarlet and Violet‘s multiplayer capabilities will be a little more robust. You can at least roam around the map together (and race on your Pokémon motorcycles). However, instead of Dynamaxing, the Paldea region’s Pokémon contend with the Terastal Phenomenon, which essentially turn your Pokémon into living Swarovski Crystals.
Pithy comments aside, the fascinating thing about the Terastal Phenomenon is that it can change your Pokémon’s type. For example, Pikachu can transform from an electric-type to a flying-type. In the heat of battle, this can prove a pretty huge strategic game-changer.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will release exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on November 18. Which is so soon. Hopefully, I can decide on my starter by then.
(featured image: The Pokémon Company)
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