The next generation of Pokémon begins this week. Three years after the debut of Generation 8 with Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet launch the next chapter of the series. Featuring an entirely new set of Pokémon, tons of exciting features and plenty to conquer, the two titles are a bold step forward for the franchise.
Throughout 2022, information regarding the games has been revealed via countless trailers, demos and blog posts. All of the speculations will soon be put to rest, however, as Pokémon Scarlet and Violet hits shelves November 18, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. As anticipation peaks, we’ve put together a list of key game elements to look forward to in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet below.
Traditionally, main series Pokémon games are rather straightforward in their progression. A linear story guides users from town to town with the typical composition of a rival, opposition group, eight gyms and Pokémon League to defeat. However, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have reimagined this experience. While the familiar path of clearing gyms and Victory Road remains, players are now able to approach each gym in the sequence they choose. Beyond this, two additional storylines play out with the "Path of Legends" involving new Titan Pokémon of massive size and battling Team Star, a group of school delinquents who are stirring up trouble throughout the Paldea region. For those who may have grown weary of the usual Pokémon experience, Scarlet and Violet is shaping up to be a refreshing playthrough.
With a new generation of Pokémon comes a new batch of cute, ferocious and confusing creatures to gawk at. As the Pokédex approaches a total of 1,000 entries, the Pokémon Company shows no signs of slowing down its introduction of Pokémon. While many classics have been revealed to be returning, new Pokémon including the typical trio of starters have also been shown off. New designs range from classic dog-inspired creatures to futuristic humanoid Pokémon. However, fans are also being treated to regional Pokémon such as Paldean Wooper and new evolutions for old-school Pokémon such as Girafarig now evolving into Farigiraf.
Each recent generation of Pokémon has introduced a new core mechanic into its battle system. For Generation 6 it was Mega Evolutions, Generation 7 had Z-Moves and Generation 8 introduced Dynamax. Each feature shaped battles, both competitively and casually, and Generation 9 might shake things up more than ever before. As part of the new Terastal Phenomenon, all Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet will have a Tera Type. After Terastallizing, Pokémon then become its Tera Type, replacing its natural typing. For example, a Tyranitar who is typically Rock and Dark Type may Terastallize into a Ghost type to render a Fighting Type attack useless when it would usually be 4x effective against a Tyranitar. Without diving too deep into the implications of this mechanic, it introduces an entirely new dimension to the game's combat. Whether it be for the competitive battler trying to revolutionize the meta or someone wanting to have a fun new way to battle with their favorite Pokémon, the Terastal Phenomenon looks to do it all.
Spotted on the cover of most Pokémon games, Legendary Pokémon often serve as icons for their respective titles. Typically, these Pokémon are only hinted at or appear briefly in the early portions of playthroughs. However, Scarlet and Violet once again mix things up with each legendary showing up earlier in the games. Named Koraidon and Miraidon, these Legendary Pokémon feature vehicular designs that nod to their role in helping the player traverse across the Paldea region. Both Pokémon have various ride forms that will carry Trainers in Sprinting Build/Drive Mode, Swimming Build/Aquatic Mode and Gliding Build/Glide Mode. While it’s unknown when these two may join battles, they’re sure to play a significant role in each game.
Beginning with interacting via physical cables and evolving into global connections over Wi-Fi, each Pokémon game has brought players closer together. With Scarlet and Violet, this remains the case as Trainers can venture throughout the Paldea region with up to three friends. Additional co-op functionality includes Tera Raid Battles. The successor to Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Max Raid Battles, Tera Raid Battles see Terastallized wild Pokémon take on four Trainers in a timed battle event. Unlike Max Raid Battles, these battles don’t require waiting for fellow Trainers to take their turn, resulting in fast-paced action. For those looking for a challenge, black crystal Tera Raid Battles will appear in the postgame, featuring special Pokémon and rewards in an event rotation. First up is Charizard, a Pokémon not naturally found in the Paldea region, bearing a Dragon Tera Type.
Scarlet and Violet Books
Most recently revealed, Trainers will use the Scarlet and Violet books in their respective games to aid their exploration. Each features records from an expedition said to have taken place long, long ago as an uncharted area of the region was traversed. Various photographs and sketches of unidentified Pokémon fill the pages of each book, the first two of which were revealed to be The Monster Known as Great Tusk and The Monster Known as Iron Treads. These Pokémon are assumed to be Donphan forms that bear prehistoric and futuristic designs respectively, a theme expected to be uniquely tied to each book. Whether this means we’re getting two evolutions or forms of classic Pokémon or a batch of themed creatures, there’s ample potential for these to be fan favorites in the games.
Tying in to the previously discussed flexible progression to the game, the Paldea region is an open world environment. Trainers will explore a mix of open spaces that range between mountains, wastelands, lakes and towering peaks. A simple concept, its openness is a welcomed addition to Pokémon as previous maps have often felt cramped in prior titles due to designs needing to limit the player’s access based on story progression.
Rounding out the list of exciting features in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the new “Let’s Go!” function. A new approach to having your Pokémon interact with the overworld, “Let’s Go!” allows for one Pokémon out and walking around the Paldea region. While walking around, this Pokémon will independently pick up items nearby and have Auto Battles with nearby Pokémon. Another addition to the games, Auto Battles allow for Pokémon to battle without the Trainer having to perform any inputs, earning Exp. Points and items in the process. For those who have grown tired of spamming the A button to level their team, this may be a refreshing opportunity to level up while still being able to seamlessly continue one's adventure.