Pokémon Scarlet and Violet – One to Watch for 2022

This week The Pokémon Company held their own showcase and we got a bunch of new details about the upcoming open-world Pokémon entry called Scarlet and Violet. We had a brand new trailer, plus a follow-up with the developers as we dove deeper into the details, and today I’m going to round all that up for you.

Previous to the event we knew the region for the game would be based on Spain, but now we have a name and that’s the Paldea Region. This has lush green lands, rivers, mountains and more, plus villages, towns and farms. There is a large city in the centre of the region called Mesagoza. Depending on which version of the game you pick up you’ll find two schools, Naranja Academy and Uva Academy. As part of joining the school, you’ll get equipped with a Rotom Phone, which houses your Pokedex and a map. The structure is changing slightly in this new Pokémon game. Here we have three grand stories; the first is where you take on eight gym leaders in a traditional Pokémon style, although they can be tackled in any order.

Pokémon are all over the region, on land, up trees, and in the water. The trailer showed off Pokémon new and old, with returning Pokémon including Haunter, Growlithe and more. There are Paldean variants of Pokemon too including a Paldean Wooper. Instead of living on land, it lives in the water and has a new poison attack. There are new Pokémon, one of the most popular is bound to be Fidough, a new half dog, half bread species. Fidough can puff himself up, but also has yeast-like breath which can ferment things and help with cooking. Cetitian is a new ice-type Pokémon that has powerful attacks thanks to their huge bodies and strong defence.

Koraidon and Miraidon are the Legendary Pokémon which appear on the cover art, and it looks like we’re going to be getting hold of these legendaries early in the game. They are not only powerful Pokémon who will be strong allies, but they double up as vehicles, so we can ride them by either flying or using them as motorcycles. They can change form to adapt to different ways of travel, so they can run fast through open areas, and swim in the water and glide through the air.

Changing forms is a running theme in this entry, with other Pokémon able to change things up too. Gen IX has a new method, similar to the dynamaxing of Sword and Shield, where Pokémon can get new abilities in battles. This time it’s called Terastallize, which turns the Pokémon into gems or crystals, allowing them to become more powerful. Some Pokémon change type when they go into this form, for example, Evee has a new Tera Type option she can change into.

Gen IX features Tera Raid Battles, which are four-player co-op battles against Terastallized Pokémon. These aren’t turn-based battles, meaning players can attack and heal at any time throughout the match, rather than having to wait their turn, which should turn up the excitement and the action. There’s a built-in matchmaking mode for this or you can send out link codes throughout your friend group. If you take down the Terastallized Pokémon, you have the chance to catch it.

Co-op mode expands to explore the Paldea region with friends too. Using Scarlet and Violet’s Union Circle, you can bring in up to three friends to play with and explore the region together in four-player co-op. Together you’ll be able to capture Pokémon plus trade and battle with each other.

Scarlet and Violet look to have a decent-sized story mode with plenty of characters to meet along the way. We have already been introduced to Professor Sada and Professor Turo, but there are also a bunch of new characters we hadn’t seen until this showcase. Clavell is the director of the academy and teaches you about the school. Mr. Jacq is the homeroom teacher who teaches you about biology. Jacq is also the developer of the Pokedex app. Arven teaches you about cooking, for example promoting healthy recipes for your Pokémon. Penny is also another character, although she seems quite shy. Grusha is a Gym Leader, a snowboarder who specialises in ice-type Pokémon, and trains the new Cetitan.

The Pokemon Company are saying this is a true Open World Pokemon entry. We recently have Pokemon Legends Arceus, which was the semi-open world, similar to Monster Hunter, but this one is going the full way Open World. It’s going to be interesting to see how the traditional gym leaders’ story works in the Open World formula, and how the bosses and enemies scale. In theory, you should be able to go anywhere to battle Gym leaders in any order, but that is going to depend on the scaling of the difficulty and enemies. How open-world this is going to be, will be interesting to see. It looks like the Pokémon are doing some neat things to switch it up, but will it be enough to push the series forward to where it needs to be, only time will tell.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet arrive on 8th November 2022 exclusive to Nintendo Switch.