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A new mainline title in the Pokémon franchise is already almost here and we can’t believe it, either. Soon enough, all of us will be diving in, choosing our starter Pokémon and going on an adventure through a whole new region. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, the latest releases, promise to be some of the biggest yet with promises of an entirely open world and some wild looking legendaries.
On Wednesday, we got a closer look at the upcoming games thanks to a Pokémon Presents showcase, which gave us some new information about Pokémon Go, the world championships, and other Pokémon spin-off games, like Pokémon Cafe. That wasn’t what everyone was waiting on, though — the stars of the showcase were obviously Scarlet and Violet, and we got a lot of fun information to break down throughout the presentation.
Welcome to the Paldea region, Trainers!
A sprawling land of vast open spaces— dotted with lakes, towering peaks, wastelands, and perilous mountain ranges.
See you there!
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) August 3, 2022
Legendary Rider Pokémon
Remember when legendary Pokémon were great beasts to be conquered? They were mini-boss fights that put a player’s skills and patience to the test to see if they were worthy of taking on the power of such beasts. As time has gone on, though, they’ve become less a challenge to be conquered and instead an ally on the player’s journey. In Scarlet and Violet, they’re taking on their most prominent role yet by being the player’s main form of transportation. Biking, surfing, and flying can all be accomplished with the assistance of legendary Pokémon, and that’s a little odd to see when you consider what the games used to be like. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because what child didn’t dream of riding around the Kanto region on a Zapdos, but it’s just weird that these creatures that used to be a major challenge of the game are now a mode of transportation.
Ever singe MegaEvolutions were added to the franchise, every new mainline game has needed a new special form of some kind. There were Z-Moves, Gigantamax, and now, there’s Terastal. This new transformation for our Pokémon surrounds our allies in a shiny crystal that unsurprisingly makes them more powerful, but it can sometimes come with a type change on top of that. The showcase didn’t give away too much info about how these new crystals will impact gameplay, but it sounds like Pokémon can have multiple “Tera-Forms,” which will obviously encourage players to catch the same kind of Pokémon more than once.
New Multiplayer Features
The last couple of Pokémon games have been taking big steps forward in improving the multiplayer aspects of the game. Scarlet and Violet will be no different with each game providing new features like co-op multiplayer, where multiple players will be able to run around in the same world. Not only that, but the games will allow players to hang out with each other, creating some fun virtual get together opportunities with friends. The new big feature has to be buffed up “Tera-Raids,” where players will be able to try and capture extra powerful Tera-Form Pokémon in raid battles. Features like this are always fun because it’s going to give players more to do beyond the single player plot.
No Set Gym Path
Gyms are returning in Scarlet and Violet, but there’s a really cool twist to them that most games in the past haven’t done. These games will allow players to tackle the gyms in any order they want. Essentially every traditional Pokémon game has sent the player on a set order to explore the world, but by removing that, it’s going to make this new open world feel that much more freeing for longtime fans. This does raise the question about just how “open” these gyms are going to be. Will the game’s difficulty be based on how many badges a player has gotten, or will they have a set difficulty from the start? If it’s the latter, then most players will obviously take on the easy gyms first, which kind of defeats the purpose of letting players choose. It will be fun to see what the devs at Game Freak have decided.
Two Extra Stories
For anyone tired of the old gym format, don’t worry, because there’s supposed to be two more plot lines the player can follow along. Having multiple plots isn’t exactly new in a Pokémon game, but they’ve traditionally been interwoven together so the presentation making it a point to tell us that there are two extra plots for players to follow will hopefully mean that they’re just as fleshed out as the gym badges path that most traditional players will follow. Hopefully, these aren’t just the same three plots in most Pokémon games — Gyms, 11 year old saves the world, complete the Pokédex — and we actually get some variety.
Everything teased Wednesday sounds like an opportunity for the devs at Game Freak to take the mainline games in an entirely new direction. It’s also an opportunity to repackage what many of us are used to and call it something new, but let’s be hopeful and assume it’s the former. The franchise has been leaning towards a refresh for a while and maybe this is finally it.