‘Pokémon Scarlet’ and ‘Violet’ May Actually Be Worth Being Excited About

The Pokémon Company’s impeccably-dressed President has, once again, graced us with his presence, this time bringing tidings of the latest games in the mainline Pokémon series, Pokémon Violet and Pokémon Scarlet. Based on Wednesday's preview, they are, admittedly, pretty much everything that longtime fans of the series have been begging for. They’re truly open-world. You can tackle the gyms in any order your heart desires. They have four-player, over-world co-op. They have two additional main quests to supplement your journey through the Pokémon League. They seem to perform…totally fine. They have a little dog! As much as it astounds me to say it, GameFreak has appeared to finally be attempting to make the game people have been asking for for decades.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/93aamy/pokemon-scarlet-and-violet-may-actually-be-worth-being-excited-about
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I am of the perhaps contrarian opinion that Sword and Shield were Totally Fine but the Pokémon fans with whom I have spoken are absolutely beside themselves about Scarlet and Violet. I’m honestly a little worried that the hype might overtake this one.

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It’s interesting how many different opinions do exist on this game, and the last two, because I thought SwSh was too distant from what I wanted in a Pokemon game… and this one just seems to be going further in that direction. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such dread as I do reading the words ‘four-player, over-world co-op’ because god, that just means they are going to keep the raids aren’t they?

Still, I do think this generation has some really neat looking Pokemon. Fidough? I love him. I love that the Ice-Type gym leader is just Langa from Sk8 the Infinity. I like motorbikes!

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I’m very much out of the Pokémon loop, having put like a billion hours into Blue back in the 90s and then playing through Let’s Go a few years back, so this may be a dumb question. But didn’t Arceus launch a few months back? If I’m reading this right, TPC is launching two open world, fully 3D Pokémon games in the same year? How on Earth do y’all keep up with this? :rofl:

This is far more the exception than the rule, believe me lol

and @ricotta I’d be curious to hear what your idealized game would be.

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prepares to make sweeping and potentially untrue statement but it feels right so I’m going with it

I think that for a lot of people, myself included, part of the joy of Pokemon has always been about traversal. We might just not call it traversal because navigating a mazelike route or dungeon, dodging trainers and identifying the shortest route through spawn areas, using appropriate HM/partner pokemon, etc. at the right moments, and all the other ways that older Pokemon games made reaching Point B from Point A engaging and challenging don’t necessarily fit the most common archetype of what we call traversal in a game. But I think over time they’ve been moving away from that kind of design towards simpler regions and routes with fewer dead ends and out-of-the-way areas (like compare Galar and even Kalos to Hoenn or Sinnoh — there are so few dead ends, side paths, or routes that don’t connect to any others now), and beyond all the stuff about national dexes and whatever, a lot of us find the world design a lot less engaging than it used to be. Like BW2 had a whole secret underground tunnel that linked a dungeon in one part of the map to a sewer in another, which let you grab a Volcarona after like the third gym. That kind of thing is either gone, or much less directed. And all the improvements they’ve made to the capture/battle side of it all can’t make up for that.

I bring this up because that was the thing that Arceus (and to a lesser extent the SwSh DLC) brought back, albeit in a different way. You can’t build an open-world in the same mazelike way you’d build something like Hoenn, but you can create lots of interesting geography and ways to traverse it. So honestly the biggest hype point for me in this trailer is seeing that they not only kept the mount Pokemon from PLA and seem to be building this game’s world around that as well. If it’s as interesting to navigate as PLA’s world was, I’ll be very happy.

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I’m gonna be real cautious since the last few Pokemon games I played I found were extremely boring, just gonna be frank here. Maybe I’m just a guy who really only wants Romhacks of Gen III games and not new stuff, I dunno.

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Honestly? I think I just want Dragon Quest XI but with Fidough and Fuecoco. I’d prefer the direction they went for bigger fights was more ‘JRPG parties’ with a bit more nuance to the way Pokémon 2v2, 1v3, etc.-style fights could play out instead of co-op raids. Maybe expanding the ‘water is strong against fire’ stuff to a ‘which types work well together?’ for party building purposes instead of just adding gigantamax or the new… crystallization thing? (Which is, to be fair, pretty if nothing else.) Just stuff that lets me get more variety in what a battle could be instead of, like, taking the single-player aspect away.

I agree with @diglett too, I like the traversal and puzzles too. I think the open world looks good so far, but I do wonder if I’ll start to feel the same as BotW with regards to the puzzles. Great open exploration and navigation, but those shrines were mostly a little dull compared to old Zelda temples. The past few Pokémon games have had duller gym and cave navigation, and I think the ‘go wherever whenever you want’ thing will probably make that part worse, but I do hope in exchange the open world itself has a lot going for it.

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Yeah, this exactly how I’ve felt about the series’ changing over time. My main problem with SwSh was, as you said, the world is just so boring. Particularly in terms of design, but also in terms of setting! These games haven’t felt like a real adventure through exciting places since idk, before Kalos for sure. And maybe they were never all that exciting, I definitely was a lot younger when I played those and that is surely coloring things. But damn, at least give me some dungeons or mazes again.

And yeah, at least with Arceus and what we’ve seen of these new games, even if it’s not exactly what I’m looking for, they’ve finally shifted the perspective and world design enough to feel new. The novelty of seeing Pokemon running around in a recognizably real feeling world counts for a lot.

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Yeah I’d put it at pre-Kalos too, I think Unova was a bit linear but in BW2 especially it was a really fun and varied region to navigate. I think the shift to 3D environments also shifted their approach to world design and because things had to connect to each other in a logical manner — harder to build a 3D maze than a 2D one where you can fudge verticality and the levels of things a bit, or make things a lot bigger on the inside without it feeling strange. Some of it may be nostalgia but I think if you put something like Terminus Cave from X&Y up against other third-legendary dungeons like the Sky Tower or Turnback Cave, it’s clear that something was given up along the way. But 3D environments are really conducive to interesting open worlds, so this does feel like a natural way for them to hopefully bring something interesting back into that world design.

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Legends Arceus wasn’t quite fully open world. It had half a dozen discrete regions that are each probably about 1km square. Apparently Gamefreak just made both games concurrently I guess to really try to hammer down their big open space tech though, which they started with Sword/Shield’s Wild Area but which I think kind of fell short there.

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yeah I don’t know how I feel about the Open World-ness of it but, I know me, I’m gonna get it and I’m gonna play it and I’m going to have fun - I have a lot of problems with Sw/Sh but I had fun playing it so! That’s fine, for me.

I enjoyed Arceus a lot so, we’ll see.

Gonna try my best not to get tricked into buying another pokemon game, playing it for a few hours before realising those games aren’t for me yet again…
If it comes out and it turns out to be the BOTW of that series then maybe, I would have to see the reception.
In the meantime I’ll just continue to enjoy pokemon fan art.

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I am very interested in seeing what if any of the QOL improvements from Arceus make it into this one. Hopefully I would have to dismiss multiple text boxes every time I pick a berry