Here’s our first look at Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Pokémon’s European-inspired journey continues
2022 is shaping up to be a massive year for The Pokémon Company. On the back of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl’s worldwidecommercialsuccess, the company started this year off by taking its biggest leap of faith yet in the form of Pokémon Legends: Arceus. In developing its fourth-generation prequel, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, long-time series developer Game Freak did away with some of the series’ core tenets – most notably its linear story structure, random wild Pokémon encounters, forced Trainer battles, and the need to weaken wild Pokémon before capturing them – to create a truly open-world Pokémon adventure. Despite a few issues of its own, Arceus is by and large the Pokémon game fans have wanted to see since the Nintendo Switch was announced, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Pokémon fan who didn’t come out of the Hisui region excited to see what the series’ future would hold. Luckily, they didn’t have to wait too long to find out.
Continuing the tradition that it launched with the series’ 20th anniversary, The Pokémon Company celebrated International Pokémon Day on February 27 by making a litany of announcements related to its existing games:
Pokémon GO got a raft of new Alolan Pokémon;
Pokémon Masters EX got a Victory Road game mode and a number of new sync pairs to come over the next month;
Pokémon Café Remix got a new delivery feature;
Pokémon Unite got a new quick battle mode alongside the announcement that Duraludon will be in the game soon;
Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl finally got Shaymin (officially) by way of a Mystery Gift event;
Pokémon Legends: Arceus got its first major update, a generous Pokémon Day gift and an anime adaptation…
And then we got a surprise first look at the first entries into the series’ ninth generation: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
The 3-minute trailer blends cinematic footage with in-game footage (which The Pokémon Company was careful to stress is not final), so it doesn’t give us a whole lot of information about the series. What it does show off, however, is a number of Pokémon from previous generations roaming freely through beautiful landscapes – indicating that Pokémon Legends: Arceus’ open-world structure is going to be the way forward for the series beginning with Scarlet and Violet. It seems as though the Pokémon Company hasn’t been too shy about its inspirations for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s as-yet unnamed setting, either: citing the architecture shown throughout the in-game footage, fans were quick to point out that the region appears to be based upon Spain and the Iberian Peninsula.
After switching back to cinematic footage to round out the trailer, we also got a brief glimpse at Generation IX’s three starter Pokémon, with some more information revealed on the games’ official website. Following the traditional Grass, Fire, Water structure, players will be able to choose between “the capricious, attention-seeking Grass Cat Pokémon”, Sprigatito; “the laid-back Fire Croc Pokémon”, Fuecoco; and “the earnest and tidy Duckling Pokémon”, Quaxly. The Pokémon Company hasn’t revealed any other significant information about the trio, nor did it reveal any other ninth-generation Pokémon – every other Pokémon shown in the trailer is from a previous generation, which implies that we might see a pretty large Pokédex, even though producer Junichi Masuda has been candid in the past with his doubts that we’ll ever see the entire Pokédex in a game again.
Neither Nintendo, The Pokémon Company or Game Freak have announced a concrete release date for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet as of this writing; the games are currently slated for release on Nintendo Switch “in late 2022.”