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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: Version Differences, Features and Everything We Know So Far

A new generation of Pokemon games launches on Nintendo Switch this fall.

Pokemon Scarlet Violet battle
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are coming this November.
Nintendo / The Pokemon Company

Nintendo Switch owners have a handful of big games to look forward to as we head into the second half of 2022, but the system's marquee releases this holiday season are Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, the next installments in the popular monster-catching series.

Set in an entirely new region filled with a variety of exotic Pokemon to catch and raise, Scarlet and Violet mark the start of a new generation for the long-running franchise. Now that the games' third trailer is live, here's a recap of everything we know about the upcoming titles so far.

Release date

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will launch for Nintendo Switch on November 18, 2022.

Setting

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet take place in Paldea, a vast, brand-new region seemingly inspired by Mediterranean Spain. 

Unlike the self-contained areas in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Paldea is the first truly open-world setting in the series' history. As the games' official website describes, "Various towns blend seamlessly into the wilderness with no borders. You'll be able to see the Pokemon of this region in the skies, in the seas, in the forests, on the streets -- all over!"

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet landscape

You'll explore a vast, open world in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Nintendo / The Pokemon Company

Whereas previous Pokemon games followed a linear story, Scarlet and Violet will offer a greater degree of freedom in how your own adventure unfolds. According to the official website, "you're free to explore at your leisure and not in an order dictated by the story."

New Pokemon

Along with many familiar monsters from previous titles, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will feature a variety of brand-new Pokemon. The games' reveal trailer showcased the three potential partner Pokemon that players will choose between when beginning the adventure: the grass-type cat Sprigatito; the fire-type crocodile Fuecoco; and the water-type duckling Quaxly.

We got a look at a handful of other monsters in the games' June trailer, including the pig Pokemon Lechonk and the olive Pokemon Smoliv. On top of that, the video offered our first glimpse at each game's legendary cover Pokemon: Koraidon (Pokemon Scarlet) and Miraidon (Pokemon Violet).

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet starters

The three starter Pokemon players will choose between when beginning Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

The Pokemon Company

Version differences and exclusives

As with previous Pokemon games, there will be some differences between Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet, one of which is your trainer's appearance. Depending on which game you choose, your character will be a student at a different academy, with a different uniform as your starting outfit.

Pokemon trainer outfits

Your Pokemon trainer will start with a different outfit depending on which game you play.

The Pokemon Company

In addition, you'll meet a different Pokemon Professor depending on which version you choose. Professor Sada appears in Pokemon Scarlet, while Professor Turo is the head researcher in Pokemon Violet.

You can also expect to encounter a handful of version-exclusive Pokemon in each game, requiring you to trade with another player if you're striving to complete your Pokedex. Here are all the confirmed version-exclusive Pokemon so far:

Scarlet

  • Larvitar
  • Stonjourner

Violet

  • Bagon
  • Eiscue

Trailers

Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have released three trailers for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet so far.

The first trailer (embedded above) was revealed during the Pokemon Presents stream back in February 2022. This video gave us our first look at the new games, mixing gameplay clips and live-action footage of a security guard exploring a museum laden with Easter eggs.

The second trailer was released nearly four months later in June. This one offered a more in-depth look at the gameplay, showcasing new Pokemon, several major characters and four-player co-op.

The games' latest trailer went live on Aug. 3. This one shared even more details on the world and story, confirming that players will be able to ride on the games' legendary cover monsters, Koraidon and Miraidon, across the region. The video also revealed several more new Pokemon, including the doughy puppy Fidough and a Paldean variant of Wooper.

Terastallizing

Terastallized Quaxly

Quaxly and other Pokemon take on a jewel-like appearance after they Terastallize.

The Pokemon Company

One of the major new features in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is Terastallizing, a brand-new battle mechanic that promises to add new layers of strategy to battles. Like Mega Evolution and Dynamaxing, Terastallizing is a temporary transformation that Pokemon can undergo, in this case giving them a crystalline appearance. Each Pokemon also has a Tera type that it takes on when it Terastallizes, and any moves it use that match its Tera type will receive a significant boost in power.

Pokemon Home connectivity

Like other Pokemon titles for Nintendo Switch, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will be compatible with the Pokemon Home service, letting you import select Pokemon you've caught in previous games and use them in the new adventure. 

pokemon-sv-battle-scene.png

Through Pokemon Home, you'll be able to bring Pokemon you've caught in other regions into Scarlet and Violet.

Nintendo / The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Home is available for Nintendo Switch and mobile devices, with free and paid plan options. The service recently received a big 2.0 update that added compatibility with the Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl and Pokemon Legends: Arceus games.

Multiplayer

Like previous games in the series, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet let you connect with other players to trade and battle Pokemon. On top of those staple features, the new titles also let you explore the region together with up to three other players -- a first for the series. The June trailer offered a glimpse of multiplayer exploration, showing four player characters meeting up and adventuring in the same world together.

In addition, raid battles will also return. You'll be able to team up with three other players to take on Terastallized Pokemon together. Unlike the raids in Pokemon Sword and Shield, however, these Tera raids have a strict time limit, and players can attack without waiting for others' turns.

Early purchase bonus

Bonus Pikachu for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
The Pokemon Company

Like recent Pokemon games, early adopters will receive a special bonus in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Everyone who purchases a copy before Feb. 28, 2023 will be able to get a free exclusive Pikachu. This Pokemon has two special characteristics. First, it knows Fly, a move it normally cannot learn in the games. Second, it becomes a flying type when it Terastallizes.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are still a few months away, but in the meantime, Nintendo has a few other notable games in the pipeline for the Switch this year. The sprawling RPG Xenoblade Chronicles 3 recently launched on July 29, while Splatoon 3 and Bayonetta 3 are coming in September and October, respectively.