Boy, did we ever get a meaty Pokemon Presents, and it’s not even for an anniversary! While some news bits, such as Pokemon Unite’s new units and Pika Party, are certainly cute, and Pokemon GO basically confirmed fans’ suspicion that previously announced Ultra Beasts and Shaymin Forme will be at the August 27th Go Fest round-up event, it turned out to be Pokemon Scarlet and Violet that stole the show.
Now, for traditional media outlets, that’s no surprise, as those are main series entries, but for gamers who want to play online, this is quite different, as the presentation repeatedly emphasized that the new entries are an open-world RPG with multiplayer.
Naturally, one of the biggest hurdles here will be how a pokemon game, a series known for its super formulaic linear stories, will work with a multiplayer, open-world approach. No, it’s not an MMO, but the title’s already looking to be at least as multiplayer as a Monster Hunter game, and possibly have an even more open storyline.
Well, storylines. We were told there are three stories, one being the traditional “defeat eight gym leaders” type but with no set order. We don’t know whether this can be engaged in multiplayer, but the presentation did confirm that players can catch and ride together, the latter being interesting in that the new cover mascots are also being shown as your main transportation pokemon. That could mean you gain them much sooner than in past main series entries, and if there are truly no order restrictions, that could have larger implications on what’s allowed in these games.
Content for the other two stories was not even hinted at. We don’t know whether they’re reserved for post-gym storyline, are multiplayer, or can all overlap. However, if the gyms truly can be tackled in any order, that’s already more open than what we see in the Monster Hunter series. That could be important going forward, as there’s already been not one but two Monster Hunter MMOs, but sadly before the game really exploded outside of Japan/Asia. Pokemon GO has acted as a bit of a real-world MMO, but it could be used to help fuel a more traditional MMO so a Pokemon MMO wouldn’t end up like the MH franchise.
In terms of relevant features, there’s also “Terastallizing,” a new feature that makes pokemon look gem-like and gain bonuses to their typing and Same Type Attack Bonus moves (STAB). While pokemon normally have up to two types, in Scarlet and Violet they also have a Tera type, which could differ from their traditional types. The Eevees in the header image are just that: Despite Eevee being a Normal-type pokemon, the above have Grass and Water Tera typing. It seems a bit like the TCG’s Delta pokemon, though whether or not the story behind this addition is the same will have to be discovered a later date.
What is known, however, is that pokemon with rare Tera types will be more common in Tera Raid battles, meaning we’ll once again have raids in a main series Pokemon game. Unlike past raids, however, you can attack or heal without having to wait for your allies. Not only will that speed up battles, but it may also give players more of a reason to communicate. As per the official Scarlet and Violet website, players can have their trainers use a cheer so they can buff stats or heal instead of having their pokemon attack, meaning they don’t necessarily need to build a support pokemon.
Tera-types ensure that certain pokemon may see new and unusual play. For example, at this point in the presentation, we see a Gardevoir with the Water Tera typing, which may make Steel attacks, a traditional weakness of Gardevoir, less problematic. All three of the players’ pokemon, however, are oddly Grass Teras. Whether this is random or from a new ability is unknown, but it helps reinforce the idea that Tera types can really mix things up. The official site also mentions it’s a once-per-battle mechanic, similar to past transformation gimmicks, but one that seems to apply to all pokemon and possibly evenly.
Today’s presentation gave us a lot of things to consider in terms of multiplayer for the new games and even the future of the IP, but we’ll have to wait until we either get new information or the November 18th, 2022, release to get our answers.