The highest-grossing media franchise of all time, Pokémon, is set to release one of the most anticipated games of the year on Nov. 18. Launching on the Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are another in a long line of Pokémon games produced by Game Freak.
Dating back to 1996, Pokémon has dominated the field of role-playing games among people of all ages. This month, GameFreak is ready to reclaim its throne with a game that encourages players to explore the region rather than follow a predictable formula.
Scarlet and Violet await their release as two sister games with version-exclusive content and legendary Pokémon to capture. As a lifelong Pokémon fan, the news of a vast new region to explore is exciting, but it doesn’t come without doubts.
Scarlet and Violet will begin the ninth generation of Pokémon games as the hype around them turn palpable by the second. In the cycle of each generation or every 2-3 years, the company also mixes in spinoffs and remakes. On an adventure to be a part of the excitement, I set out to find die-hard Las Positas’ Pokémon fans and their expectation for the new launch.
The previous generation, generation 8, was a mixed bag of content for Pokémon fans. Sword and Shield were the flagship games for the generation, but they produced mixed reviews.
The linear map design and lack of difficulty made Sword and Shield lackluster in terms of the story. Almost every route in the game was restrictive and allowed for little to no exploration. The plot of the story was confusing and added nothing to the experience.
The game felt uninspired for vast portions of the experience. However, they did introduce a wild area that provided two open areas for players to traverse. It was a silver lining to an otherwise lackluster title.
However dull the story and map may have been, Sword and Shield were excellent for competitive play. Online battles made competitive teams and head-to-head combat extremely fun and stimulating.
Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, or BDSP, were remakes of the popular generation four Pokémon games. Originally released on the Nintendo DS, Diamond and Pearl quickly became a fan-favorite title. Unfortunately, BDSP didn’t deliver the nostalgic remake everyone hoped for.
The game died less than a year after its release due to a sloppy, rushed launch and seemingly unfinished results.
Though my main gripe with the game is a hoard of bugs and glitches. From walking through trees to defeating champions within a mere 20 minutes, the game was structurally unsound.
Second-year student Haseab Alakozi said, “Pokémon slapped a three-dimensional model on Diamond and Pearl and called it a day. I felt like it was a little unfinished. I liked the original games, so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it could have been more original,” Alakozi said.
As other games have failed to fully appease the Pokémon community, Legends Arceus revitalized interest among gamers and offered hope for upcoming releases. From the open-world layout to the ability to explore more land, the game single-handedly saved GameFreak from collapse.
Alexandra Brown, a second-year LPC student, shared her feelings on the success of open-world layouts. “I personally like open-world games cause it allows you to go through the game at your own pace. You can also unlock special items and side missions while exploring the map,” Brown said.
Luckily for Brown, Pokémon has announced that Scarlet and Violet will be the first open-world, mainline Pokémon game.
According to President and CEO of The Pokémon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara,”Trainers will once again embark on an epic journey of discovery and exploration. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will be an adventure unlike any other, and I cannot wait to share this incredible experience with all of you,” Ishihara said.
While the announcement of these new games is appealing, concerns have surfaced surrounding the release. Players worry that the same issues that haunted BDSP will impact Scarlet and Violet, given that the games are coming out fairly quickly after the massive release of Legends Arceus.
In less than a year, Scarlet and Violet will be the third Pokémon title released for Game Freak. It has made many fans wonder whether it is possible to put out a polished game with such a tight time constraint.
Despite my reservations, I’m excited about a new approach to the formulaic experience that has made Pokémon what it is today. Only time will tell if Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be massive hits or over-hyped disappointments.
Mason Newbould is a staff writer for The Express. Follow him @mason_newbie.