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 been able to see 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.
Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet was a major shock to see announced so soon after two other 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 sometime in late 2022, making it the second title to be released this calendar year, and possibly the third within a 12-month period. While “late” is an intentionally vague time frame, November seems to be a good guess as to when it will come, assuming it doesn’t have to be delayed of course.
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.
Our only 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, alleviating 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 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 shots of castle spires, colorful plazas, and countryside homes with laundry drying in the breeze.
What looks to be our protagonist runs into 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, to 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 re-creation 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 that 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 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.”
After Pokémon Legends: Arceus made waves by being an open world, though contained in hubs, style game, many wondered if this would be the future for 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 being 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. We’re curious to see what other mechanics will carry over from Arceus into Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet related to engaging in battles on this open world, such as your trainer being able to get hit and sneaking up on Pokémon to catch them without a battle.
We can also assume the basic combat of the series will be back, but as to what twists, either old or new, will come is still a big mystery. It does appear like there will be a good variety of environments, however, with different city areas shown, more coastal zones, oceans, forests, mountains, and even a desert.
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 + 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 that 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 can be assumed to not be in the game.
Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will no doubt have multiplayer. At the bare minimum, it will include some trading functionality, since that is a favorite way they like to encourage players with opposite copies to collaborate in completing a full roster of pocket monsters. 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.
We think everyone would love some kind of co-op mode, but that may be reaching a bit too far into fantasy wishes.
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.
Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet have only just been announced, so while we’re all eager to pick our favorite starter and get to exploring, we have months to go before it comes out. If the game is going to hit its release window of late 2022, there’s a good chance the next time we see these games, probably in the summer, we will also get a release date and pre-order information. Nintendo has been very good about announcing games and giving release dates either at the same time or very soon after, so we don’t think you’ll have to wait long before reserving your copy of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet.