As November 18 slowly crawls toward us, Nintendo is increasingly raising the hype for the first all-new mainline game in three years. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet received their latest enormous 14-minute trailer today, and you can see the whole thing right below.
With just over a month to go, it’s honestly hard to imagine Nintendo has to do much more to ensure the Pokémon faithful will pick up the game. It’s the stragglers they’re after now, trying to lure them in with the quite literally shiny new “Terastal” feature. This worst of Pokémon puns sees the creatures take on a crystalline form, and also change to their Tera Type. Today’s trailer revealed a lot more information about that, and a lot more besides. Here are X things that stood out to us today.
Given away by their sparkly appearance, it seems Tera Pokémon are not just for the bigger battles, but will pootle about in the open wilds of Scarlet & Violet. The trailer shows us a wee Jigglypuff sparkling and shining in a sandy spot, which when approached immediately Terastallized. Sporting a crystal fountain above its head, it reveals that the usually Fairy/Normal type Pokémon has become a Water type in its crystal form.
When battling them, you need to defeat their Terastal barrier before you can throw out a Poké Ball to capture them. Once caught, they are reverted to their normal form, but if used in battle will return to their Tera type. It means you can gather a team of monsters with especially peculiar types to their normal form, across all 18 types.
For the first time, you can now create your own TMs—Technical Machines used to change a Pokémon’s attacks—from items you find around the region. Feed them into a TM Machine, and the mysterious slabs can be crafted as you wish. This will be great news for min-maxers, who want to give their monsters the exact right attacks for expert-level battling. And likely be ignored by everyone else who just wants to watch the cute creates fling the colors at one another.
The idea of auto-battling concerned me, feeling as if it were taking away something of the core experience of a mainline Pokémon game. Yet seeing it performed, as a player’s Quaxly is given the “Let’s Go” command, it’s just your buddy in the wild, picking quicky fights while you’re focused on something else. It looks more like an addition, rather than a replacement, and of course never ends in the Pokémon being caught.
The large, open-world design of this game will obviously make it trickier to find your way around, especially given you can tackle the Gyms in any order, for the first time. But they’ve added some standard open-world features, like map where you can place markers that will direct you, via a minimap, to where you’re aiming to reach.
In a moment that seemed incredibly Far Cry, we’re shown how you can infiltrate Team Star’s rebel bases, and then take out all the naughty bullies within. Bases are found in the open world, and can be entered. Defeat all the residents in Pokémon battle, and then the boss of that hideout appears for a larger fight—which they’re not revealing at this point. No word yet if you can release wild tigers inside before you go in.
One of the game’s three paths (the other two being the traditional Gym story, the other battling those enemy bases) is The Path of Legend. It’s about finding “legendary herbs,” apparently, but on the way you battle Titans. In the trailer, Klawf pops up, a vast crab-like beast, who gets so spooked by a Drifloon’s Tera Blast move that it runs away.
Tera Raid Battles are much like Sword & Shield Dynamax battles, and be played four-player in multiplayer, working together as a team to defeat a vast crystal Pokémon. This time you can cheer on your companions, which will inspire their pocket monsters in their attacks.
There’s all manner of extra-curricular activity here. Those Pokémon camps from Sword & Shield are far more elaborate now, with picnic tables, a sandwich-making minigame, and even the opportunity to give your monsters a bath. Seriously, you scrub-a-dub them until they’re shiny-clean. Sandwiches will boost your buddies in various ways, while baths apparently just make them feel good.
Everyone’s favorite palindromic Pokémon can, in its Paldean form, evolve for the first time! Around since 2000's Gen 2, it’s never been anything but for the push-me-pull-you-like creature. But here in the trailer, we see one get traded with another player, then left to run about in the wild levelling up, and turning into...Farigiraf. Oh yes indeed. Somehow it’s head-tail is now its tail-head, and, well, it just looks amazing.
After Pokémon Arceus let us have photos taken alongside our favorite Pokémon, Scarlet & Violet takes the next logical step, and lets you snap your own selfies. You hold up your camera so you can see yourself and your Pokémon at the same time, then take a pic, and even set it as your own profile picture.
The starters this time out are Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Sergeant Duck, which some people are still mistakenly calling Quaxly. All completely adorable, but we can’t be friends if you don’t pick the duck. Scarlet and Violet’s legendaries are even more bonkers, both Koraidon and Miraidon appearing to be some sort of motorbike-based Pokémon. Motorbikes that can also swim and fly.
Although as far as I’m concerned, the main reason to choose between the two different versions of the game are which Professor you want nagging at you the whole way through. They’re both terrifying, but Pokémon Scarlet’s Professor Tudo’s smoothy-smooth good looks are far too intimidating for me. So it has to be Professor Sada and Pokémon Violet. (Fun fact: “sada” is Spanish for “past,” and “tudo” is Spanish for “future,” which makes them the first Professors not named after trees or plants.)
By March this year, Sword & Shield had sold over 24 million copies, making it the second most successful Pokémon game of all time. (It still fell far short of the OG Pokémon Red/Blue/Green’s all-time sales of 31 million.) It’ll be very interesting to see if the open-world approach of Scarlet & Violet will prove as popular, especially given it supports up to four-player multiplayer while roaming its open maps and cities.