Today’s Pokémon Presents revealed more details about how the gym system in
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet works. You’ll be playing as a student at an academy, and beating some of the toughest trainers in the region is just part of your school assignment. Tough, but fair.
Depending on which version of the game you have, you’ll either be attending Narania (Scarlet) or Uva (Violet). As part of your curriculum, you’ll be embarking on a “treasure hunt” throughout the Paldea region. The treasure hunt consists of three different storylines, and the gym challenges only consist of one branch. So you can likely expect a lot more sprawling content aside from the time-honored tradition of taking down the gym leaders. There are still eight leaders who stand between you and the “champion rank,” and Victory Road awaits at the end of the journey. The trailer also showed off the Glaseado Gym leader named Grusha, who uses ice-type Pokémon like the new Cetitan.
The trailer reconfirmed what was previously tweeted on by an official Pokémon account. Instead of curbstomping gym leaders in a specific order, you can choose when you want to take them down. Giving players the choice to challenge gyms however they want is a cool departure from the rigid formula of the series. I remember the old days when picking Charmander was the “challenge mode” of the Kanto games because fire was awful against the rock and water gyms, and not particularly good against the electric one either. Those who picked Chikorita in the Johto titles faced a similar problem. Scarlet and Violet’s gym system finally allows all starter Pokémon to be on an equal footing, and I’m here for it.
This isn’t the first time that Pokémon has experimented with an unconventional gym system. In the Pokémon Sun and Moon titles, the series replaced the gyms with “trials” in which players would sometimes complete puzzles in lieu of actually challenging the leaders (or battling the trainers who are working at the gym). However, the storyline was still rather linear compared to what Scarlet and Violet have presented so far.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be released on the Nintendo Switch on Nov 18, 2022.