Pokémon fans didn’t have to spend long scouring blurry leaked images for details about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet versions. Today, during a Pokémon Presents livestream, Nintendo showed off a ton of footage for November’s Switch-exclusive tent poles, including new details about the legendary Pokémon—who you may join your team earlier in-game than ever. Here’s the full stream (the good stuff starts at around the 10-minute mark).
First announced in February, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the next mainline entries in Nintendo’s juggernaut series of monster-collecting RPGs, marking the start of the ninth generation of games. Like the previous entries, 2019's Pokémon Sword and Shield, they’re fully 3D, a divergence from the top-down perspective that defined the previous two decades of games. In June, Nintendo gave Pokémon Scarlet and Violet a release date of November 18.
The duo of legendaries, Koraidon and Miraidon, which appear respectively in Scarlet and Violet versions, are certainly in keeping with the legendary Pokémon of recent entries: massive dragons who are equal parts silly-looking and elegant. They’re rideable, though. Today’s trailer showed off how you can pilot them as bona fide motorcycles...that can also fly. And surf. (You can also ride alongside wild Pokés.) No, I don’t know why they run on their legs over using their giant tires.
That Koraidon and Miraidon are so essential for traversal indicates you might unlock them earlier than ever. Historically, Pokémon games give you a chance to get the legendary Pokémon between your battles against the seventh and eighth gym leaders. But it’s hard to imagine Scarlet and Violet preventing you from using key traversal techniques to get around until you close in on the endgame. Typically, you get your bike somewhere near the start of the game, with the other traversal features occurring midway through. It’s unclear if all the options will be unlocked from the get-go, but it’s worth noting that this is an open world game—so they may need to plan for the possibility you’re going in any direction.
Beyond that, today’s stream answered a ton of lingering questions about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, including the region’s name. The games will be set in the Paldea region, which is based on the Iberian Peninsula (which comprises Spain and Portugal). These versions are fully open-world.
While Scarlet and Violet don’t have the mega evolutions that sullied their predecessor, there’s a new type of battle: Tera Raid Battles. Pokémon can “terastalize”—a very real word today’s announcer used—into different types by absorbing crystals, seemingly confirming this summer’s leaks. For instance, Nintendo is touting a Pikachu that can turn into a flying-type as a preorder bonus.
For the first time in series history, Scarlet and Violet will feature different professors, or science-savvy grown-ups who tend to serve as both mentor for and quest-giver to the younger player characters. Scarlet’s Sada is wearing clothes with a prehistoric style, while Violet’s Turo is rocking a futuristic bodysuit, leading some fans to speculate about potential time-travel elements in the game. Also, the entire internet is obsessed with the profs for, um, other reasons (which you can probably surmise).
The entire Pokédex isn’t publicly available yet, though Nintendo has teased the most important Pokémon. Two of the starters—the grass-type cat Sprigatito and the fire-type lizard Fuecoco—are worth considering for your team. (The water-type duck Pokémon Quaxly has been rightfully pilloried for being a total cop.) But perhaps no gen-9 Pokémon has caught more attention than Lechonk, a baby pig with sad eyes who—and my colleague Ashley Bardhan was spot-on with her analysis here—looks like it’d make for some delicious sandwich meat.