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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more

Calling all Pokémon trainers, young and old — the ninth generation of this historic franchise is on the way and promises to be yet another step forward. The monster-catching series is as big as it has ever been, and since it came to the Nintendo Switch, the series has seen far more improvements from title to title compared to when they were limited to the hardware constraints of dedicated handheld consoles. This generation has already seen Sun and Moon, Sword and Shield, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and the most ambitious of them all, Pokémon Legends: Arceus. However, it has been a long time since the last proper mainline game, but the wait may be over sooner rather than later.

Announced on Pokémon Day, where we got a special Pokémon presentation, Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet were announced as the titles for the ninth-generation Pokémon games. As with every new generation, this pair of titles will release simultaneously, presumably having some differences between them that encourage multiplayer, a new roster of collectible monsters, and some tweaks to the gameplay to spice things up. As to the details on all those things and more, here is everything we know about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet so far.

Further reading

Release date

A Spanish-inspired landscape and castle from Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet.

It was a major shock to see Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet announced so soon after two other recent entries in the franchise: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. What was even more surprising was the release window given for this next major entry in the franchise. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet is currently set to launch November 18, 2022, making it the second title to be released this calendar year, and the third within a 12-month period.

Platforms

A little cottage on the coast in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will continue the series tradition of being released exclusively on Nintendo’s latest hardware, in this case, the Nintendo Switch. This series has never been released on anything else, not even PC, and there’s no reason to think this pair of versions will be any different. If you’re a Pokémon fan, though, odds are you already have a Switch ready and waiting.

Trailer

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet | Announcement Trailer

Our first look at Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet comes from the announcement trailer shown off for Pokémon Day 2022. The trailer begins with a live-action section following a Japanese security officer patrolling a building at night. The tone is ominous and even a little creepy as something moves in the shadow, drawing his attention. He’s led down a long hallway to a door with a sign identifying it as the Game Freak offices. The music picks up, elevating the tense mood until he opens the door to a flash of bright light.

He looks around the cluttered room as a cup shakes, a book’s pages flip on their own, and other supernatural events kick off. Finally, the camera swoops into a TV, and we get a look at the game world itself.

The first glimpse of this new region, which is named Paldea, is mountainous, bright, and features a castle as the focus. We pan over lakes at sunset, moonlit forests, and misty city streets. Here, we get our first look at some wild Pokémon roaming the new landscapes, including some new and old favorites, and just a taste of Lucario using an attack. We get a lot of shots of what this new region’s architecture is like in sweeping views of castle spires, colorful plazas, and countryside homes with laundry drying in the breeze.

What looks to be our protagonist runs into the frame — a young boy who enters his house with a Nintendo Switch beside his TV. We match-cut to a real Switch in the office with the guard, who is greeted by a painting of three new Pokémon as the series’ iconic theme starts playing and the titles of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet are revealed.

Based on the landscapes and architecture, many people speculate that this region, whatever it is to be called, will be based on Spain and Portugal. The focal point is what looks to be a recreation of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia. Every mainline Pokémon game’s region is based at least somewhat on a real-life location, so this lines up as an unexplored part of the world for the series to tackle.

Story-wise, nothing has been revealed just yet. Typically, Pokémon games have mostly formulaic plots involving some group of nefarious Pokémon trainers who are up to no good and who you must thwart while defeating all the gym leaders. This game may spice things up, but we’ll have to wait on that for now.

The three Pokémon we saw featured in the portrait at the end of the first trailer have been confirmed to be the new trio of starter Pokémon we will have to choose between in the beginning hours of our journey. These three are Fuecoco, Sprigatito, and Quaxly, representing the fire, grass, and water types, respectively. The official website gives some insight into each of their personalities.

Sprigatito is described as a “capricious, attention-seeking Grass Cat Pokemon.” Fuecoco is a “laid-back Fire Pokémon that does things at its own pace.” And Quaxly is an “earnest and tidy Ducking Pokemon.”

A second trailer introduces us to some characters, including Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet‘s professors, Professor Sada and Professor Turo, each exclusive to one version of the game. Another new face, Nemona, asks if you are the trainer of the three starter Pokémon, perhaps implying that you won’t choose one but instead actually start with all three. She is described as a more experienced trainer who will be both a friend and guide on your adventure. After more gameplay, the trailer ends with shots of the two newest Legendary Pokémon, Koraidon and Miraidon, standing on cliffs, though nothing about them is known.

Pokémon Presents | 08.03.2022

The Pokémon Direct gave a small look at the main story or stories this game will feature.

Your character takes the role of a student under Mr. Clavell and your homeroom teacher, Mr. Jacq, undertaking an assignment known as the Treasure Hunt. One of three stories you will be able to take on in any order has you performing the familiar act of challenging the region’s eight gyms in any order, while the other two are still unknown.

Two new characters briefly shown are the upperclassman named Arven and a shy girl named Penny. The only gym leader shown so far was Grusha, the ice gym leader.

Seek Your Treasure! | Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet

The Seek Your Treasure! trailer gives us another look at the school setting this game will feature. The Treasure Hunt will be a major part of the Naranja Academy school year, as briefly mentioned in the previous trailer. We go to a new area called Starfall Street, where we’re introduced to Team Star, the local troublemakers you will no doubt encounter many times in the game. Their leader is Mela, who rides a giant decked-out bus.

Another task shown off is to find the legendary Herba Mystica on the Path of Legends. Arven, an upperclassman and chef, is also undergoing this task. This also introduces a new creature, The Stony Cliff Titan Klawf, which is a massive version of a regular Klawf.

Finally, the old quest of taking on the gym leaders and completing Victory Road returns. The chairwoman of the league this time is a woman named Geeta. There will also be gym tasks to do, aside from simply beating the leaders. Speaking of which, we meet Brassius, the Grass gym leader that also takes advantage of the Terastalize feature.

Gameplay

Second Trailer | Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

After Pokémon Legends: Arceus made waves by being an open-world-style game, many wondered if this would be the future of the series going forward. Thankfully, we weren’t left speculating for long since Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet are confirmed to be new open-world titles. They are planning to take a “new evolutionary step, allowing you to explore freely in a richly expressed open world … Various towns blend seamlessly into the wilderness with no borders. You’ll be able to see the Pokémon of this region in the skies, in the seas, in the forests, on the streets — all over! You’ll be able to experience the true joy of the Pokémon series — battling against wild Pokémon in order to catch them — now in an open-world game that players of any age can enjoy.”

That quote has a ton of info, most notably the open-world aspect, which seems to be aiming to be a truly open world and not limited to large hub areas, as we saw in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Aside from that, it pretty much explains what most people expected. You will go out, see Pokémon on the map, and be able to battle and catch them. Other mechanics will carry over from Arceus into Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet related to engaging in battles in this open world, such as your trainer being able to get hit and sneaking up on Pokémon to catch them without a battle. Trainer battles in the open world will also make an appearance.

The Direct also revealed that you will mount and travel with your version’s respective Legendary for most of the game. They can be ridden as a ground mount but also change form to glide through the skies. On the map, you can also highlight and set waypoints for yourself.

We can also assume the basic combat of the series will be back, but which twists, either old or new, will come is still a big mystery. It does appear that there will be a good variety of environments, however, with different city areas shown, more coastal zones, oceans, forests, mountains, and even a desert.

We see plenty of character customization as well, with clothing, hairstyles, skin tone, and more being customizable. You will be able to change your character’s appearance at salons as well.

Finally, with any new Pokémon title, we need to talk about the Pokédex. Again, no official confirmation about what monsters will be available in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet has been made yet, but we do have a few clues. First, we don’t expect all 900-plus monsters to make it into these games. They haven’t been able to manage that for the past couple of titles, and with the ambitions of making a fully open-world game, that only lowers the chances of a full roster across every generation.

Some have also made the observation that Pokémon Home is only stating that “specific” Pokémon will be able to transfer over to Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. For those who don’t know, Pokémon Home is a service where you can transfer your favorite Pokémon from one game to the next across generations. If only certain ones will be able to make the leap to the ninth generation, then those that can’t are assumed to not be in the game.

Terastallize is a new feature to this title that makes Pokémon “shine like gems” and can be used on any Pokémon. Some will change type based on their Tera Type. Evee would normally remain normal, but some could be grass or water based on their type. While in this form, Pokémon will also deal more damage.

While unconfirmed, there have been many leaks and rumors springing up surrounding Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. Take these as just rumors, obviously, but there are a couple that sound at least plausible.

First is that the Legendaries in Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will be rideable, which comes from notable leaker Riddler Khu. They also claim each Legendary will have a total of five forms they can turn into, perhaps each being a different mode of transportation, such as ground, water, flying, and others. This leaker also claims that they know what types all Gym leaders will use and that the Elite Four will be back. They also indicate that this set of Elite Four members will each specialize in teams made up of types that previous versions of the group have used, which has so far included every type except for Normal, Grass, and Electric.

Another rumor that has spread ever since the reveal relates to the story of the game being centered around time travel. There are plenty of clues pointing to this being true, such as one legendary being far more traditional and the other looking more robotic and futuristic in design. The professors as well have designs that support this theory.

Competitive Play Trailer | Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

A Competitive Play Trailer was released at the conclusion of the Pokémon World Championship 2022. This trailer not only revealed yet another new Pokémon but also the first true look at battles. A new move was shown off called Shed Tail, where your Pokémon creates a substitute on the battlefield, taking the next attack while swapping out for another Pokémon in your party. This move does cost HP to use, however, so it can’t be abused.

We also see two new items, the first of which is the Mirror Herb that copies any stat increases your opponent gets during battle. The other, Loaded Dice, makes multistrike moves more likely to hit subsequent times.

This trailer also shows more of the Terastallizing mechanic and how it can shift your Pokémon’s type but also give them a Tera Blast move.

A new way you can use your Pokémon on the field is to send them off on their own adventures with the “Let’s Go!” feature. While scouting the world on their own, they can find items and even auto-battle other Pokémon.

Jump into a Paldean Journey | Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

A new gameplay feature just before the release showcased many things we’ve seen in previous footage, but also plenty of new things we will experience in our adventures through Paldea.

While we’ve already seen Terastallizing, this trailer did confirm that even wild Pokémon can perform this type-changing transformation. They will be differentiated on the field as having a shine to them, and every Pokémon in the game will have the potential to have any of the 18 different Tera types associated with them.

TMs are also back and can be found around the world as items, but now are also craftable. By visiting the Technical Machine Machine, you can use resources obtained through battles to make new TMs. While many numbers were missing in the footage shown, there are at least 130 of them to make which you can sort by number or type.

A new part of battles shown was when attacking enemy bases. When you first arrive, you will use your first three Pokémon to battle 30 others on the field using the “Let’s Go!” commands within a 10-minute timer. Once completed, the boss shows up for a traditional battle.

When challenging a gym leader, each trainer must first pass a gym test. In the example shown, you would need to find a number of Sunflora around the town. It is likely that each gym will have a unique test.

We also saw the new Pokédex, which now includes snapshots of each Pokémon along with their usual information. You can even view their animations here.

A rather…unique new mechanic is picnics, where you can call out your Pokémon and perform tasks like washing them, playing with a ball, and finding Pokémon eggs. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a picnic without food, so there’s also a sandwich-building game. Depending on the ingredients you use, the meal will give you different buffs, such as making different Pokémon types easier to catch.

Multiplayer

A misty city street at night in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will have multiplayer in a big way. The second trailer had an NPC state that you and three friends can all play together and showed a clip of four players and their Pokémon all hanging out together, a first for the series. The latest direct stated that multiplayer would be done through spots called Union Circles, but the entire Paldea region would be explorable with friends.

We also see some trading functionality, where Pokémoare shown being whisked away between games, though the system itself is not detailed. Battles are another safe assumption and would be a major miss to somehow not have. Anything else is hard to guess. Pokémon Legends: Arceus had the new lost and found system that was a kind of asymmetrical multiplayer component no one saw coming, and with this game being fully open world, there’s a ton of room for new multiplayer modes to be included.

Tera Raid battles are a new, more challenging feature that you can take on with friends against a single strong Tera Pokémon you can then catch if defeated.

Other information dropped at the Pokémon Championship includes the new Casual, Ranked, and Online Competitions for battling online. These are the different playlists you can use to compete online, either unranked, ranked, or in tournaments with specific restrictions and rulesets. You will also be able to create your own Friendly Competitions.

DLC

Ever since the series hit the Switch, Pokémon titles have enjoyed the modern conveniences of DLC. Pokémon Sword and Shield in particular enjoyed two expansive DLC additions, so we expect something similar for Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet as well. This is just speculation, of course, but feels right in line with how the series has gone and Nintendo’s style of support.

Again going back to the rumor mill, Riddler Khu has claimed that Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will be getting DLC of some type but didn’t share any details as to what it would include.

Preorder

A painting of three new Pokemon from Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet have officially gotten their final release date of November 18, and preorders are live on the game’s official site, as well as most online retailers, for $60. It comes with two potential preorder bonuses, though one is exclusive to digital copies of the game. Let’s start with what everyone will get:

  • Special Pikachu in either Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. This Pikachu will know the Fly move, which it could otherwise not learn, and will have the Flying type while in Tera form.
  • The code for this unique Pikachu must be redeemed by February 28, 2023.

If you get the digital version, you will also get a code for the Adventure Set, which includes all the following items:

  • 10 Potions
  • Five Full Heals
  • Three Revives
  • Three Ethers
  • One Rare Candy
  • One Nugget
  • This code will expire on March 7, 2023

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