Today, the Pokémon Company announced the release date for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The games are out for November Switch on November 18. Here’s a new trailer, featuring something entirely new for the series: not one but two professors.
First announced in February, Scarlet and Violet are the next mainline entries in Game Freak’s enormously popular Pokémon series and the first since 2019’s Sword and Shield. Though Pokémon took a bit of an offramp earlier this year with Pokémon Legends: Arceus—a prequel spin-off with action-adventure gameplay akin to Monster Hunter—these latest versions, so far, seem to be a return to the typical classic Pokémon-training formula.
In other words: You find yourself in a tiny town with, like, five buildings. You struggle to choose a best friend from three eye-wateringly adorable baby animals (in this case: Sprigatito, a grass-type kitten; Fuecoco, a fire-type sort of crocodile…dinosaur…thing; and Quaxly, a water-type duck with an extremely silly-looking hat). You then watch as your best friend slowly grows up into a formidable monster capable of leveling towns and then direct them to do battle against the best friends of other people. Over the course of your adventure, you cobble together a team of other terrifying creatures, strolling around the countryside with six of them in tow.
But the two versions will add some new elements. To wit, there are two aforementioned (oddly grown-up-looking) professors: Professor Sada and Professor Turo. Dating back to the days of Oak in the very first games, professors in Pokémon games serve as guides and mentors for the player.
And of course, these are to be the first ever open-world Pokémon games in the franchise, with confirmation today that players will be able to approach the game in their own order. We’re told, “you’ll experience a world you’re free to explore at your leisure—not in an order dictated by the story.”
Recent mainline Pokémon games have taken place in fictional realms based on regions like France and the United Kingdom, moving somewhat away from the Japan-inspired worlds of the earlier entries. Some fans believe Scarlet and Violet are inspired by Spain and Portugal. (Footage released so far bears strong geographical and architectural resemblance to the Iberian Peninsula.) Scarlet and Violet also appear to feature four-player co-op. In the trailer, one NPC says, “If you connect with friends, you can head out on adventures together—up to four of you at a time!”
The trailer wrapped with a pre-rendered cinematic panning over the two version-specific legendary Pokémon. I’m not gonna say they look silly until I see their movesets, but they do seem like some run-of-the-mill Pokémon I could capture on, like, route 106. (Legendaries are overrated anyway.)
The two upcoming Pokémon entries are cornerstones of the Switch’s stellar 2022 lineup. Next week will see a new release in Nintendo’s long-dormant soccer series, Mario Strikers. That’s followed two weeks later by Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, a musou spin-off of Fire Emblem. The month will offer Xenoblade Chronicles 3, an RPG that’s destined to gobble up at least 400 billion hours on your backlog. And in September, Nintendo will unleash Splatoon 3, the latest entry in the most PG-rated of all the multiplayer shooters. And that’s to say nothing of the major games that have been announced but don’t yet have release dates, like Bayonetta 3.
Updated: 06/01/22, 10.20 a.m. ET: Added extra details regarding the open-world nature of the game.