Whenever a new Pokémon trailer goes live, the internet’s sleuths get busy. Info about these games tends to release in carefully curated bursts, sparking the sort of breathless speculation that leads to fans, um, mistakenly identifying a wheelbarrow as a previously undiscovered Pokémon. Today, hereby known as Holy Release Date Revealedsday, is no different.
Yes, this morning the Pokémon Company dropped a ton of new info about its forthcoming RPGs for the Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. You probably already know that they’re out in November with four-player co-op, that the trendiest new Pokémon looks delicious (sorry!), and that the professors are instant right-swipes. But there’s a lot more info between the cracks. Let’s dive in.
You can tackle gyms in any order
Historically, mainline Pokémon games have been fairly linear. Even when they feature “open-world” segments, like Sword and Shield’s Wild Area, you still generally follow a hammered-out structure, battling your way in a predetermined order through eight Pokémon Gyms, which culminate in a fight against a gym leader — a tough Pokémon trainer. So, when Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were first announced in February as true open-world games, the news made a bit of a splash.
Today, the Pokémon U.K. Twitter confirmed just how “open” Scarlet and Violet’s open-world it is: You can tackle gyms in any order you want. Of course, some previous games have allowed you to dabble with fighting members of the Elite Four — basically, the final four trainers of the game — in whatever order you please. And the so-called “island challenges” of Sun and Moon were certainly more free-form than Pokémon Gyms. In 2019, Sword and Shield versions introduced a Wild Area, a free-roam region where you could explore to find rare Pokémon. But all of those features are disparate elements of a true open-world game; Scarlet and Violet are leaning all-in.
A bunch of old-gen Pokémon are in it
In today’s trailer, you can see a trainer trade Larvitar, previously known to be in the game, with another trainer’s Bagon, previously unconfirmed. (This is big news for me, specifically. Bagon is the first-form stage of Salamence, arguably one of the most powerful dragon-type Pokémon and a cornerstone of my team lineups since it was introduced in Ruby and Sapphire versions.) Another frame showed Gengar, also previously unconfirmed. The presence of Gengar presumably means its lower-stage evolutions, Haunter and Ghastly, are in the game too. Here’s hoping Scarlet and Violet doesn’t pull the same BS that Sword and Shield did with Slowpoke’s evolution chain!
You might get all three starters (but probably won’t get to keep them)
Like previous versions, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet feature three starters: the fire-type lizard Fuecoco; the grass-type kitten Sprigatito (dibs); and the water-type Quaxley, a duck Pokémon who was memed into oblivion upon its reveal earlier this year.
One NPC trainer, Nemona, says, “Are you these three’s trainer?” A few seconds later, you’re battling her in “your first Pokémon battle.” That battle then cycles through footage of all three of the new starters — which, to be fair, is possibly just for marketing purposes. Also, language on the official Pokémon site says you’ll “choose your first partner” from the three starters. So this is something that’ll likely remain up in the air until closer to the game’s November 18 release on Nintendo Switch. But, man, that’d be so nice to use all two of the starters (sorry not sorry, Quaxly fans).
The professors are wearing clothing from different eras
In prior Pokémon games, you’re given starters by that particular version’s professor, an NPC who serves as a mentor to the player character. Each new iteration stars a new professor. They’re usually named after a plant. For the first time in series history, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will feature two version-specific professors: Sada and Turo. Sada (wearing the russet crop top) is in Scarlet, while Turo (in the amethyst-hued jumpsuit) is in Violet.
But if you look closely at the clothing, you can glean further details. Sada’s rocking an outfit that wouldn’t look out of place in this year’s prequel spin-off, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, set wayyyyy before the events of mainline games. Turo’s wardrobe, meanwhile, is seriously future-chic. Are multiple timelines at play here? That’d sure mesh with the past-vs.-future theme established by Legends: Arceus and that of the two new legendaries. (One’s a motorcycle; the other’s a futuristic hovercraft mobile.)
Toby Fox composed some of the music
Toby Fox, a game developer best known for creating the hit indie RPG Undertale and for contributing compositions to Pokémon Sword and Shield, composed some of the music in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. You can hear a bit of it in the trailer, but more as-of-yet-unheard music will appear in the full release. Fox confirmed as much on Twitter today, saying, “A few more Toby Fox tracks will appear in the game.”
The Total Unknowns
For all that we know about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, there’s a whole lot we don’t.
Yes, you can tackle gyms in any order you please, but it’s unclear how exactly that’s applied, whether there’s some sort of level-scaling (where enemies level up with you) or level-suggesting (which offers suggested levels for various subregions).
Based on geographical and architectural references, it’s clear Scarlet and Violet’s setting is based on the Iberian Peninsula (the westernmost region of continental Europe, comprising Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar, and parts of France). But the name of the region remains under wraps.
The two legendaries, Koraidon and Miraidon, are available in Scarlet and Violet respectively. Some previous versions have allowed you to eventually capture both legendary Pokémon. You’d catch the version-specific one (the one on the box art) at level 40. Way later on, you could catch the other legendary at level 70, at which point it’s naturally weaker than a Pokémon you’ve leveled up to that point. It’s unclear yet if Scarlet and Violet will do the same.
Representatives for Nintendo, the game’s publisher, did not respond to a request for comment.