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Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet
During today's Pokémon Presents livestream, The Pokémon Company revealed a ton of new details surrounding the first fully open-world RPGs in the Pokémon franchise, Scarlet and Violet. During the extended trailer and subsequent deep dive, we received new info about the region in which the games take place, how multiplayer works, some of the Pokémon players will encounter during their adventure, and the new Terastal phenomenon that allows Pokémon to change.
In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, players embark on an adventure in the Paldea region, a massive area full of lakes, mountains, wastelands, and more. Outside of its natural landscapes, Paldea also plays home to farming villages and port towns. At the region's center is its largest city, Mesagoza. Based on the version you're playing, you'll find either Naranja Academy or Uva Academy, which each feature 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 journey through Paldea, they can participate in three grand stories; one story features the traditional Pokémon storyline featuring eight gyms to conquer. Though, this time, there's no set order for how trainers progress through the gyms.
Players can expect to find Pokémon living in treetops, rivers, and other areas in the wilderness, so they should also keep their eyes open. During the trailer, we caught glimpses of various returning Pokémon, including Growlithe, Haunter, Pineco, and plenty 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 favorite Wooper. This new form takes on a brown appearance instead of its standard blue look and ditches the water to live on land. Because their gills have hardened from living on land, they move a bit slower. However, they can shoot poisonous liquid from their gills.
On top of Paldean Wooper, we learned of two all-new Pokémon debuting in Scarlet and Violet. Fidough is a dog-like creature with elastic qualities. When Fairy-type Fidough becomes excited, they puff up their bodies to appear bigger. Fidough also ferments things in its vicinity using the yeast in its breath, which can also be helpful for cooking. Then we have Cetitan, a new Ice-type that has incredible attack power thanks to their immense bodies and strong defense thanks to its thick layer of fat.
We also learned more about the two Legendary Pokémon we see on the box art. Koraidon and Miraidon appear to have much bigger roles in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet than standard Legendaries have in your typical Pokémon game. One of these Legendary creatures joins the player on their journey as a partner. They can change forms to suit different traversal methods, allowing the player to sprint through flatlands, swim across rivers and lakes, or jump from mountains and buildings to glide toward their destination. Koraidon's forms feature "Build" nomenclature (Sprinting Build, Swimming Build, and Gliding Build), while Miraidon's feature "Mode" naming conventions (Drive Mode, Aquatic Mode, and Glide Mode), perhaps hinting at one of them being more organic while the other is more mechanical.
Those Legendary beasts aren't the only Pokémon in Paldea that can change forms, however. As with all recent generations, Gen IX introduces a new gimmick that will affect how Pokémon can harness new powers in battle. Much like Dynamax and Mega Evolutions of past generations, Pokémon in the Paldea region can Terastallize, causing them to shine like gems and become more powerful. Some Pokémon even change type when they Terastallize. These can vary even within the same Pokémon species. For example, one Eevee might remain Normal-type when it Terastallizes, while another might have a different Tera type.
Much like the Max Raid Battles of Gen VIII, Gen IX features Tera Raid Battles, four-player co-op fights against powerful Terastallized Pokémon. Unlike the Max Raid Battles of Sword and Shield, Scarlet and Violet's Tera Raid Battles aren't 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 one another. If the team manages to take down the Terastallized Pokémon, the trainers have the opportunity to catch it.
However, that's not the only way players can work together. Using 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 riding across the map to capture new creatures and make new discoveries, you can also trade and battle those you encounter.
If you're more of a single-player type of trainer, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has more than its fair share of NPCs to interact with. In addition to the already-revealed Professor Sada and Professor Turo, we learned of several additional characters we'll meet in Paldea. Clavell is the director of the academy you attend and teaches the player several things about their school. Mr. Jacq is your homeroom teacher who instructs you on Pokémon biology. Jacq is also the developer of the Pokédex app on your Rotom Phone. Arven is an upperclassman 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 final character we met in the new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet trailer is Grusha. He's not only a professional snowboarder, but he's also the gym leader of the Glaseado Gym. As you might 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 to see the other seven gym leaders at some point in the near future.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet comes to 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 info-packed Pokémon Presents livestream, head to our full gallery here.