Pokémon Scarlet and Violet arrives later this year, keeping a fan-favorite feature from Arceus

A Trainer from Pokemon Scarlet and Violet standing on a cobbled road outside of town
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the next mainline game to release in the pocket monster series and will be making its way to Nintendo Switch later this year.

Announced during February’s Pokémon Presents, Scarlet and Violet will introduce the ninth Generation of Pokémon, three new starters, and a new region to explore across an open-world map. It’s under development at Game Freak, the same studio that released Pokémon Legends: Arceus in late January earlier this year.

Nintendo is framing Pokémon Scarlet and Violet as a big advancement in the Pokémon series, describing it as “a new evolutionary step” that will allow you to “explore freely in a richly expressed open world.”

Towns will “blend seamlessly into the wilderness with no borders”, and you’ll get to “see the Pokémon of this region in the skies, in the seas, in the forests, on the streets.”

The game’s three starter Pokémon include the Grass Cat Sprigatito, who has the Overgrow ability and is described as capricious and attention-seeking; the Duckling Quaxly, which Nintendo says is earnest and has the Torrent ability; and the Fire Croc Fuecoco who’s laid back and has the Blaze ability.

You can watch them in all of their incredibly cute glory in the announcement trailer below.

As is tradition with the Pokémon video games, Scarlet and Violet will be largely identical, although the outfit of your Trainer will change depending on which game you’re playing.

Analysis: building on the foundations of Pokémon Legends: Arceus

There are a couple of big takeaways from Nintendo’s reveal of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The first is just how adorable the three new starters are. Quaxly might well take the mantle for the cutest cartoon duck to ever exist, and that’s really saying something given the numerous Disney competitors it’s having to contend with.

But the bigger news is that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be the first fully open-world mainline Pokémon game. No more loading towns or wilderness each time you reach a new area; the wilds of this new region will be seamless and fully explorable, better implementing the feeling of wide-eyed discovery that the Pokémon video games have always tried to capture.

Game Freak already showed just how well Pokémon games can translate to an open-world formula with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. That spin-off title has been repeatedly praised for its level of freedom, which encourages you to explore the world at your pace, and rewards you for curiosity.

A town in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

(Image credit: Nintendo)

But Arceus wasn’t fully open-world. Although its areas were vast and open, they weren't interconnected, and its town served more as a central hub out of which you could explore the segmented areas.

From what Nintendo has said so far, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will go further, giving you an entirely connected world that you can run across from one end to the other. That will open the door to potentially a whole new host of gameplay mechanics, as well as radically changing the pacing of the game. Being able to explore any direction of the map that you choose, rather than being funneled through a linear progression of areas, might introduce a whole new feeling to catching those pocket monsters.

If you can't wait for Scarlet and Violet to hit shelves, get your Pokémon fill with Arceus now.

  • Best Pokémon games: Check out our list of the best games featuring the beloved pocket monsters out there. 
Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.