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What Is Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?

We hath been blessed with three beautiful new friends.

Screenshot of Pokémon starters from the Scarlet and Violet announcement trailer

The biggest day in the Pokémon annual calendar is February 27, Pokémon Day, which marks the anniversary of the release of the first two Pokémon games in Japan. A Pokémon Presents, which is basically a Pokémon-specific Nintendo Direct, being scheduled on Pokémon Day wasn’t too surprising, and neither was most of the presentation. Game Freak largely presented us with 12 minutes of in-game events and minor updates for the various Pokémon games presently in circulation. But, of course, there was bound to be one Big Thing at the end: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Personally, I was rather hoping for an announcement of Detective Pikachu 2 (movie or game, I’m not picky). Instead, we got something bigger and wholly unexpected, with the next generation of main-series Pokémon games in Scarlet and Violet—and they’re coming this year.

Every new “traditional-style” Pokémon game, replete with new starters and a new location, is called a new “generation” of Pokémon. For example, Gen I was Red / Blue / Yellow, and Gen 8 was Sword and Shield. The recently released Pokémon Legends: Arceus, by the way, doesn’t count—aside from being a different style of game altogether, Hisui is the distant past of Gen IV’s Sinnoh.

Arceus’s recent release does make the announcement of Scarlet and Violet quite shocking, though. It would be one thing if Game Freak just announced the games’ development, but Arceus just came out in late January, and already we’re getting a new mainline game later this year?! And that’s even after Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl came out in November?! Nothing in the present world leads me to believe so many nice things can happen so close together without dire consequences.

The region name for Scarlet and Violet hasn’t been announced yet, but it looks to be deeply inspired by Spain. But we do know the three starters of this region: Sprigatito, the Grass Cat Pokémon; Fuecoco, the Fire Croc Pokémon; and Quaxly, the Duck Pokémon. All three of them are perfect. They are all my perfect friends.

What’s more, the trailer for Scarlet and Violet confirms that the days of wandering in the grass and endlessly bumping into mystery Pokémon are gone for good. Thank the mighty Sinnoh, god of space/time. Whether or not the Arceus model of tossing a Poké Ball and smoothly entering into uninterrupted combat will transfer to Scarlet and Violet remains unclear. I really, really hope so.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will come exclusively to the Nintendo Switch in late 2022. If it indeed joins The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and Bayonetta 3 in the projected Q4 release calendar for the Switch, I will be very antisocial and poor this winter.

(Image credit: Game Freak)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a musician, audio person, writer, and nerd. When not talking about One Piece or Zelda (among other anime and games), she's finding surprising ways to play the guitar.