A new Pokémon Generation comes about as frequently as Summer Olympics or major elections, and for us living the Nintendo life, it’s way more important. With Generation IX comes new games, new Pokémon, new mechanics, and a whole lot of speculation surrounding one of the world’s biggest gaming franchises.
Yet now that we’re a solid month and change away from the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, we found we had many questions that haven’t been answered in one of The Pokémon Company’s many YouTube video drops or Pokémon Presents showcases.
While leaks and Pokémon go together like Plusle and Minun, throughout Twitter and other Internet communities, some of these questions have been both answered...and promptly contradicted, so until we’ve gotten official word from Game Freak and The Pokémon Company themselves, we’re going to posit these questions until we get irrefutable proof.
Read on to find our most pressing questions for Scarlet and Violet, or 'ScarVi' as we've taken to calling it around these parts.
Just how many new Pokémon are there?
As of this article’s publishing, we’ve seen a total of 18 new ‘mons with at least six more confirmed, with the yet unseen Starter evolutions and more spotted on the minimap in the latest trailer. Pokémon from past Generations and new Paldean forms bring this number north of 200. Pokémon Sword and Shield rocked 400 total before DLC expansions, meaning that the 81 additions to the base game brought the percentage of new critters to 20.25%. X and Y, by comparison, came in at 48% but only had 150 new Pokémon.
If we had to guess, with the sheer number of returning Pokémon already revealed, we think Scarlet and Violet will lean toward Sword and Shield’s model, meaning we can expect a few more reveals drip-fed to us up until launch and then a couple of dozen surprises to discover when the game launches.
Speaking of new Pokémon, what do the Starters’ evolutions look like?
Many speculated last week’s trailer would reveal at least the middle evolutions of Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly. Instead, we got a long awaited evolution for Girafarig. Whether or not we’ll even get a reveal before release remains as up in the air as a Lechonk hurled off Mount Coronet by a Machoke.
Sword and Shield did not get an official reveal for the final evolutions of Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble, yet both Sun and Moon and X and Y’s Starters did — or rather, they were leaked. Personally, we’d prefer the reveal to take place during either a Pokémon Presents or a specific YouTube presentation because blurry images of the new trio will inevitably find their way onto the internet — with only a month to go, it’s only a matter of time.
There is also a very good chance Game Freak saw our absolutely superb designs for Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly’s evolutions and quickly scrapped their inferior efforts to copy ours. After all, how could Quaxly’s evolution not resemble Elvis Presley/Johnny Bravo with hair like that?
Will Dexit continue, and if so, what Pokémon won’t make the cut?
For the first time in Pokémon history, all Pokémon weren’t transferrable to Sword and Shield. This meant that if you had a shiny Beedrill you just loved and brought into every Pokémon game throughout the years, you no longer could do so – Beedrill wasn’t part of Galar’s Regional Pokedex.
This happened because importing, animating, and balancing all 900+ Pokémon became too much work for Game Freak. Upset fans coined the term 'Dexit' – after the exit of Great Britain and Northern Island from the European Union – as shorthand for this exclusion, and while the outrage was a bit overblown, we have to wonder whether or not this will continue in Scarlet and Violet. After all, the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLC for Sword and Shield added many more Pokémon. Surely by now the developers have caught up and most of the hard work is done?
Well, that may not be the case. If Dexit ['Palida', surely? - Ed] continues, what Pokémon will make the cut? We would assume all those in Sword and Shield and Pokémon Legends: Arceus will eventually be made transferable. However, there would still be over 100 Pokémon excluded.
Are we going to get a cohesive story?
Solid gameplay aside, Sword and Shield’s story sucked as much as knocking out a shiny Wooloo with an ill-timed Critical Hit. In fact, on our Every Pokémon Game Narrative, Ranked From Best To Worst article, Galar’s rushed, anti-climatic tale ranked worst – by a lot.
Thus far, we’ve seen little of what’s at stake in the Paldea region. Yes, we know there are three different paths to experience in Scarlet and Violet: the standard ‘Victory Road’ challenge to collect eight gym badges and become a Champion Ranked trainer; the new ‘Path of Legends’ quest for a rare health-restoring herb called Herba Mystica; and ‘Starfall Street,’ which will have you rooting out delinquent students from strongholds spread throughout Paldea.
This Team Star seems the most likely candidate for one of Pokémon’s classic evil-team-foolishly-almost-destroys-the-world-due-to-arrogance / greed / environmentalism / nihilism / idiocy / etc. plots, yet all we’ve seen so far is Mela, the boss of the fire-crew. This, of course, implies there are more crews and likely a boss-of-bosses. However, no sign of a potential Giovanni or Ghetsis analogue has been seen – unless one of the revealed NPCs doubles as an evildoer.
Perhaps Scarlet and Violet will forgo such a plot altogether? We doubt it, and given the symbolism of time between the two Professors and the Legendaries Koraidon and Miraidon – with Korai meaning ancient in Japanese and Mirai meaning future – we expect some time travel shenanigans to occur.
Will there be further quality-of-life improvements?
Each new Generation brings with it much-needed changes that streamline some of the more annoying aspects of the core experience. These changes, however, are doled out slower than a Torkoal out of Trick Room.
Generation VII introduced Bottle Caps, which can max out a Pokémon’s Individual Values – otherwise quite tedious to breed for perfectly – and Generation VIII gave us Ability Patches if you happened to catch a Growlithe with Flash Fire instead of Intimidate. Improvements aren't restricted to the nuances of Pokémon training. Being able to access your PC box from anywhere, replacing HMs with overworld abilities, making TMs reusable – the list goes on. Still, these changes were trickled out after a decade or two and didn’t happen all at once.
Scarlet and Violet have already introduced a few. The ‘Let’s Go!’ auto-battle feature looks to streamline grinding overworld ‘mons, for example, and last week’s trailer showed us that TMs are now craftable from materials found throughout your adventure.
The question remains, however, if there will be more. For our Pokédollars, we’d bet that one or two more key features will see an upgrade. We hope one of them introduces a Reverse Bottle Cap to set a Pokémon’s IVs to 0 and another a convenient way to change a Pokémon’s Tera type.
What mechanics from Pokémon Legends: Arceus will carry over?
Pokémon Legends: Arceus made some drastic changes to the battle mechanics. It’s clear we’re not getting a redux of the Agile and Strong styles, but the recent trailer hinted that Scarlet and Violet may adopt the status conditions from Legends: Arceus.
At around 12:20 in the time-stamped video below, Braivary-eyed viewers will notice in the top left corner it appears the Firafarig attacks despite having the Sleep icon next to its name:
In Legends: Arceus, the Drowsy condition replaced Sleep, which added a chance for the affected Pokémon not to attack rather than outright stopping them from acting for one to three. It seems all but confirmed.
Will Frostbite, the other status condition introduced in Hisui, make its way into Scarlet and Violet as well? We hope so, as a Special Attack affecting version of Burn, we think it’d make a great addition to a more traditional Pokémon game.
What balances will be made to competitive play?
Competitive Pokémon isn’t known for being balanced. Certain ‘mons will always have more tools than others. The Incineroars, the Whimsicotts, the Landoruses (Landorusi?) will dominate every meta they’re introduced to, pushing out comparable Pokémon because they simply do everything better. The Regielekis and Zacians will make a case for being put onto every team. Over the generations, Pokémon that have had broken abilities or moves have been nerfed. Talonflame, for instance, had its ability Gale Wings changed to only work when Talonflame has full health, and trainers quickly cast aside the formerly dominant bird Pokémon.
This holds true for moves, too. Thunder Wave, a staple on most teams, saw its accuracy cut by 10%, making it much more unreliable. Toxic has seen several nerfs over the years, too. And many powerful attacks such as Draco Meteor have had damage reductions while others have had increases.
Sword and Shield introduced quite a lot of broken Pokémon and abilities, so we expect a handful of nerfs and buffs, but it's hard to guess without knowing which Pokémon made the cut.
Last but not least, how strong will Terastallizing be?
Every battle gimmick in Pokémon history has had dramatic effect on official formats. We previously ranked Dynamax, Z-Moves, and Mega Evolution, and with the help of professional player Wolfe Glick we came to the conclusion that Dynamax's defensive utility made it the most balanced of the three.
At the moment, there's no telling which way Terastallizing will go. Changing a Pokémon's type and receiving a damage bonus has both offensive and defensive usages, but will it be overpowered and tilting like Z-Moves? Or relatively balanced but boring like Dynamax? Alternatively, maybe it'll cool but ultimately limited to a select pool of viable Pokémon like Mega Evolution? Many online competitive Pokémon communities are hard at work trying to deduce from YouTube trailers just how strong the moves of a Pokémon that Terastallizes becomes.
Then there's Tera Blast, a move which changes to match a Pokémon's Tera type. This brings back memories of the dark days of Hidden Power which was recently removed from the games entirely. And what about Pokémon like Shedninja and overpowered 'mons like Landorous that can change away from their weaknesses? For competitive-minded Pokémon players, whether or not Terastallizing will be balanced makes or breaks the entire game.
That's it for our eight pressing questions, posers we're itching to know the answers to with only a month-and-a-bit to go until release. Some of these, we know, will be answered officially in the coming days. Others will be addressed unofficialy through leaks, no doubt — there are plenty out there already. Knowing The Pokémon Company, many will be kept secret until release, too. Whichever happens, we're can't wait to adventure through the Paldea region ourselves on 18th November. It'll be here quicker thank you think.
What about you? What are you still impatient to know about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet? Be sure to let us know in the comments.