During today’s Pokémon Presents livestream, The Pokémon Company revealed a ton of new details about the first fully open-world RPGs in the Pokémon franchise, Scarlet and Violet. During the extended trailer and subsequent deep dive, we get new information about the region the games are set in, how multiplayer works, some of the Pokémon players will encounter during their adventure, and the new Terastal phenomenon that allows players to Pokemon change.
In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, players embark on an adventure in the Paldea region, a vast area filled with lakes, mountains, wastelands, and more. Outside of its natural landscapes, Paldea is also home to agricultural towns and port cities. In the center of the region is its largest city, Mesagoza. Depending on the version you are playing, you will find Naranja Academy or Uva Academy, each with different uniforms, emblems and other details. Players receive a Rotom Phone, complete with a Pokédex app and a map of the entire Paldea region. As players travel through Paldea, they can take part in three big stories; one story features the traditional Pokemon story with eight gyms to conquer. However, this time around, there is no set order for the progress of the trainers in the gyms.
Players can expect to find Pokémon living in treetops, rivers, and other areas in the desert, so they should also keep their eyes open. During the trailer, we got a glimpse of several returning Pokémon, including Growlithe, Haunter, Pineco, and many more, but we also learned more about some of the new Pokémon we’ll encounter. One such creature is the Paldean region variant of Gen II’s favorite Wooper. This new form takes on a brown appearance instead of its standard blue appearance and leaves the water to live on land. Because their gills have hardened from living on land, they move a little slower. However, they can shoot poisonous liquids from their gills.
In addition to Paldean Wooper, we learned of two brand new Pokémon that debuted in Scarlet and Violet. Fidough is a dog-like creature with springy qualities. When Fairy-type Fidough gets excited, they puff up their bodies to appear bigger. Fidough also ferments things around him using the yeast from his breath, which can also be useful for cooking. Then we have Cetitan, a new Ice-type that has incredible attack power thanks to its huge body and strong defense thanks to its thick layer of fat.
We also learned more about the two Legendary Pokémon we see on the cover. Koraidon and Miraidon seem to have much larger roles in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet than the standard legendaries in your typical Pokémon game. One of these legendary creatures joins the player on their journey as a companion. They can change shape to suit different methods of traversal, allowing the player to run across plains, swim across rivers and lakes, or jump from mountains and buildings to slide to their destination. Koraidon’s forms feature the “Build” nomenclature (Run Build, Swim Build, and Glide Build), while Miraidon’s “Mode” naming conventions (Driving Mode, Water Mode, and Gliding Mode), perhaps hinting that one of them is more organic while the other is more mechanical.
However, those legendary beasts aren’t the only Pokémon in Paldea that can change form. As with all recent generations, Gen IX introduces a new gimmick that will affect how Pokemon can harness new powers in battle. Like Dynamax and Mega Evolutions of past generations, Pokémon from the Paldea region can be terastalized, causing them to shine like gems and become more powerful. Some Pokémon even change types when they Terasterize. These can vary even within the same species of Pokémon. For example, one Eevee may still be a normal type when terastalised, while another may have a different Tera type.
Like Gen VIII’s Max Raid Battles, Gen IX introduces Tera Raid Battles, four-player cooperative fights against powerful Terastallized Pokémon. Unlike the Max Raid Battles of Sword and Shield, Scarlet and Violet’s Tera Raid Battles are not turn-based, meaning players can attack and heal without having to wait for the other trainers to take their turns. These battles can be done through matchmaking or through link codes that friends can share with each other. If the team manages to finish off the Terastallized Pokemon, the trainers have a chance to catch it.
However, that’s not the only way players can work together. With Scarlet and Violet’s Union Circle, players can summon up to three friends to explore Paldea in new four-player co-op. In addition to roaming the map to capture new creatures and make new discoveries, you can also trade and fight those you find.
If you’re more of a single-player trainer type, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have a fair amount of NPCs to interact with. In addition to the already revealed Professor Sada and Professor Turo, we learn of several additional characters that we will meet in Paldea. Clavell is the director of the academy he attends and teaches the player various things about his school. Mr. Jacq is your homeroom teacher who instructs you on Pokémon biology. Jacq is also the developer of the Pokédex app on his Rotom Phone. Arven is a senior at the academy who is good at cooking. Arven researches healthy recipes to help your Pokémon feel better. Penny is a shy character who doesn’t come to the academy very often.
The last character we met in the new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet trailer is Grusha. She is not only a professional snowboarder, but she is also the gym leader of Glazed Gym. As you can imagine from his profession, Grusha is an Ice-type Gym Leader who has the newly announced Cetitan as his partner Pokémon. This look at our first Gym Leader got me excited about seeing the other seven Gym Leaders at some point in the near future.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet arrives on Nintendo Switch on November 18. Those who pre-order the game will receive a special Pikachu that knows the move Fly and whose Tera type is Flying. To see more screenshots from this information-packed Pokémon Presents live stream, head over to our full gallery here.