Pokémon Scarlet and Violet release date, starters, legendaries and gameplay

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are the next mainline Pokémon games, bringing players to a new region filled with new and returning Pocket Monsters.  This time around, there’s a different mission structure, and it’s not all about earning Gym badges and battling trainers. It’s even got an open-world design to enjoy.

That’s right. Gone are the hub-like open areas we’ve previously seen in Pokémon Sword and Shield and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. In Scarlet and Violet’s Paldea region, you’ll be able to “explore freely” in a world where towns blend seamlessly into the wildness and the region’s Pokémon can be spotted almost anywhere. 

Not only that, but the entire game can be played with a friend in co-op. It’s a big jump for the series for sure, and we don’t have long to wait before launch. For now, you’ll find everything you need to know about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on this page. This includes all of the latest news, but with absolutely no spoilers. Read on to see the newest trailers, and a look at the three starters you will choose from at the start of your adventure.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: cut to the chase

What is it? The next entry in the Pokémon seriesWhen’s it out? November 18, 2022What platforms will it be released on? Nintendo SwitchWhere will it be set? The Paldea region

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet release date

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will release on November 18 2022.

This is a pretty surprising release date, considering many of us are still playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus which came out in January of this year. That means there will be two major Pokémon games out in 2022, though Arceus is really classed as a spin-off. 

Unsurprisingly, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be released exclusively for the Nintendo Switch family of consoles, including the Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch OLED.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet trailers

Get ready for launch
This is likely the final trailer we’ll see for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet before launch. It gives us our best look at the game yet, blending gameplay and cinematic to set the scene. Check it out below.

You’ve been ambushed by Gimmighoul!
The Pokémon Company has been revealing new Pokémon at quite a pace as of late. Here’s Gimmighoul, a Ghost-type that can hide in chests.

Competitive play trailer
In August, a new trailer showed off Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s competitive play. This trailer introduced the new Dragon/Normal-type Pokémon Cyclizar as well as new Battle Items and a new Terastallizing move called Tera Blast.

Seek your treasure trailer
In a September trailer, we got the chance to learn a little more about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s three quest lines, one of which involves the game’s new trouble-making organization: Team Star.

The Paldea Region
In an August 2022 trailer, Nintendo and Game Freak gave us our best look yet at the new Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet region: Paldea. In the below trailer you can see the game’s fully open world, get a look at some of the new people and Pokémon you’ll meet as you explore it and find out a little more about the three (three!) story campaigns that will feature.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet second trailer
In a June 2022 trailer for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Nintendo and Game Freak introduced some brand new Pokémon, the professors who will be starting us on our journey and it revealed that the game will include four-player co-op. That’s a whole lot so watch it for yourself below:

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet announcement trailer
The announcement trailer for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet was revealed on Pokémon Day, February 27, 2022. In the trailer, we were given a glimpse of the new, unnamed region, as well as some of the Pokémon who inhabit it. 

We can see Pokémon freely roaming the world, as well as some of the different biomes the region offers such as grasslands, wetlands, cityscapes, deserts, and beaches. It’s clear that players will experience a lot of variety when they’re out catching Pokémon.

On top of seeing a glimpse of the region, players are given their first glimpse at the new Gen 9 starters: Fuecoco, Sprigatito, and Quaxly. Check it out below:

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet story

Professor Sada (left) and Professor Turo (right) (Image credit: Nintendo)

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are set in a brand new region: Paldea. Your journey in the Iberian-inspired location will start at a school (the Naranja Academy if you play Pokémon Scarlet and the Uva Academy if you play Pokémon Violet).

At your school, your character is tasked with a “special independent study project” which is known as The Treasure Hunt. This treasure hunt will see you set out to explore the region of Paldea where, for the first time in the series, there’ll be three story campaigns for you to embark on as you explore the open game world in any order you please. 

One of these campaigns takes a more traditional path for the Pokémon series, asking you to fight eight gym leaders to collect badges and reach Champion rank, though you can face them in any order you please. 

The second storyline sees you face up to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s trouble-making organization: Team Star. Team Star has been formed the most rebellious students from your school and they’ve split up into squads. Each squad will have its own boss for you to face in bases scattered across the Paldea region.

Finally, there’s the Path of Legends storyline. This sees you help a new character called Arven seek out ingredients known as the Herb Mystica, extremely rare Palean herbs “which are said to immediately restore health once eaten.” Finding the herbs is just part of the challenge, though – you’ll also need to fight the Titan pokémon guarding them, which are “bigger and stronger than ordinary Pokémon”.

There are also the studies of the game’s new professors: Turo and Sada from Pokémon Violet and Scarlet respectively.

They’re researching the game’s new Terastallizing mechanic which allows you “to enhance your battle strategies by increasing the power of any moves that have the same type as your Pokémon’s Tera Type or by changing your Pokémon’s weaknesses.” But more on that below.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet gameplay

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo and Game Freak have revealed a little more when it comes to Scarlet and Violet gameplay, too. First of all, this is going to be the first fully open world Pokémon title. While previous games have played with open areas, Scarlet and Violet will finally allow players to “explore freely in a richly expressed open world.” On the game’s official site, it confirms that players will be able to explore the world in the order they wish and they won’t be constrained by the story. 

Not only that, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will include multiplayer gameplay with up to four players. We saw this in action in the June 2022 trailer, with Nintendo confirming, “Along with series staples, such as trading and battling Pokémon, you will be able to explore the various locations of the region in these games with other players. You can discover new Pokémon and explore unfamiliar areas with your friends and family”.

Nintendo has confirmed some handy new gameplay features that will be introduced in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in an effort to cut down grind. The first is Let’s Go. In the games, you’ll be able to have one Pokémon out of its ball, exploring the region with you. With Let’s Go, you’ll be able to send that Pokémon off on its own where it “independently picks up items in the area” and might even engage in Auto Battles. 

Auto Battle is another new feature that will see the Pokémon you’ve sent out engage in battles with wild pokémon without needing your oversight. You can do whatever you like while your pokémon is Auto Battling and if your pokémon wins, it’ll earn EXP points and maybe even get some items. 

One of the most striking new features of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the new Terastallizing mechanic. The Terastal Phenomenon is exclusive to the Paldea region and it sees pokémon take on an almost crystal-like look. It seems to behave kind of similarly to previous form-altering mechanics in the Pokémon series like Gigantamaxing or Z-moves.

According to Nintendo, “the primary feature of Terastallizing in battle is that it changes your Pokémon’s type to its Tera Type. Pokémon don’t outwardly show what their Tera Type is until they Terastallize—a fact that you can use to take opponents by surprise in battle. Combining Tera Types with different moves and Abilities can open up near-infinite strategic possibilities.” 

A pokémon’s Tera type could be dramatically different from its usual type, with Nintendo giving an example of one Rock/Dark-type pokémon’s Tera type being Ghost. The mechanic can only be used once per battle but it could turn the tide.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starters

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The debate around which Pokémon starter is best has already begun. We’ve been given our first look at the new companions, and as ever, the starting Pokémon types players can select are Grass, Fire, and Water. 

The Grass-type starter is called Sprigatito, an attention-seeking Grass Cat Pokémon that has an ability called Overgrow. When active, all Grass-type moves will be boosted by 50% if an enemy Pokémon has a third of its health left.

The Fire-type starter is called Fuecoco, a laid-back Fire Croc Pokémon that knows the Blaze ability. Again, this means Fire-type moves are boosted by 50% if an enemy Pokémon has a third of its health left.

The Water-type starter is called Quaxly, an earnest and tidy Duckling pokémon that knows the Torrent ability. As before, this means the power of Water-type moves will be boosted by 50% if an enemy pokémon has a third of its health left. 

There’s no word on evolutions for these starters, but we can be fairly sure each starter will have two evolutions. That’s how it’s been in Pokémon ever since the first game, so expect the same here. 

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Legendaries

Koraidon (left) featuring in Pokémon Scarlet and Miraidon (right) in Pokémon Violet (Image credit: Nintendo)

We’ve also been introduced to the Legendary Pokémon and cover stars for each of the games, with Koraidon featuring in Pokémon Scarlet and Miraidon in Pokémon Violet. One of the most interesting things about these new Legendaries is their new forms. 

Rather than meeting Koraidon or Miraidon at the end of your journey, they’ll join you on it and, according to Nintendo, they’re “capable of changing their forms to better suit what they’re doing or what terrain they’re traveling over.” Turning into a sort of living motorcycles, Koraidon or Miraidon can enter drive, swim, or glide mode to help you traverse the Paldea region with ease.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: new Pokémon

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

As for ordinary, non-starter, non-legendary pokémon that are brand new to the games with Generation 9, we’ve had a look at some of those too! From Pawmi, the electric-type mouse pokémon to Lechonk the normal-type hog pokémon, thus far they are all adorable. 

Below, we’ve listed all of the confirmed new pokémon so far, alongside their types and their version exclusivity if it applies.

Sprigatito (Grass-type starter)Fuecoco (Fire-type starter)Quaxly (Water-type starter)Koraidon (Pokémon Scarlet Legendary)Miraidon (Pokémon Violet Legendary)Armarouge (Fire/Psychic-type and Pokémon Scarlet exclusive)Ceruledge (Fire/Ghost-type and Pokémon Violet exclusive)Cetitan (Ice-type)Cyclizar (Dragon/Normal-type)Fidough (Fairy-type)Grafaiai (Poison/Normal-type)Klawf (Rock-type)Lechonk (Normal-type)Paldean Whooper (Poison/Ground-type)Pawmi (Electric-type)Smoliv (Grass/Normal-type)Wiglett (Water-type)Gimmighoul (Ghost-type)Greavard (Ghost-type)

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet news and rumors

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Exclusive rewards: Special Pikachu and Rotom Phone cases
In the launch trailer, The Pokémon Company revealed some exclusive rewards for players. First up is Special Pikachu, which can be redeemed via the Mystery Gift feature in-game. This is a terastallized version of Pikachu that’s a flying type. 

Special Rotom Phone cases can be claimed in game. You just need save data from any of the following Pokémon games: Brilliant Diamond and Shing Pearl, Sword and Shield, Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu, Legends: Arceus.

Linking with Pokémon Go in 2023
According to a Tweet by Pokémon UK, Pokémon Go and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be linking up in 2023. Roaming Form Gimmighoul has already been added, with more on the way in the future.

Limited edition console
To celebrate the launch of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Nintendo has also created a limited edition Nintendo Switch OLED console themed around the games. The console is currently available for pre-order and is priced at $359.99 / £319.99 / AU$549, though it’s worth noting that it doesn’t actually include a copy of the games, which have to be purchased separately. 

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