Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Didn’t Learn Enough From Legends: Arceus (2023)

By Joshua Cole

For many hardcore fans and casual players alike, Pokémon's dual release dynamic was annoying, so why is it returning in Scarlet and Violet?

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Didn’t Learn Enough From Legends: Arceus (1)
(Video) Is Pokemon Legends Arceus ACTUALLY Better Than Scarlet and Violet?

Pokémon Legends: Arceus has a subtitle that puts it in the same camp as other spinoffs like Mystery Dungeon and Ranger, but the gameplay proved itself innovative and many fans were hoping that it would influence the next mainline games, revealed now to be Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. While the November release date of Scarlet and Violet means that both games probably shared development time, there hasn’t been enough time to learn any lessons from the release of Arceus. Still, one of the lessons Pokémon Legends: Arceus seemed to have learned the minute it was announced was that only one game version needed to be released.

It’s definitely disappointing to hear that Game Freak is going back to a model that doesn’t give everything Pokémon fans want in one complete package. There are upsides to the previous method of Nintendo Switch'sSword and Shield beingbeing two separate games, but the price and spread-out content don’t outweigh the negatives. After Arceus seemed to boot this trend in favor of a better system, going back to the old way feels like a step backwards.


Scarlet and Violet are games that share similarities with Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but this release method does bring up some concerns. There are reasons why dual releases are good, but most of them don’t make up for the fact that players won’t get to experience all the content in both games without spending more money. Now that Sword, Shield, and Arceus have all released on Switch to commercial success, it's time to let go of the tradition of selling dual releases and learn from the newest game in the Pokémon series.

The Justification OfDual-Release PokémonGames Like Scarlet & Violet

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Didn’t Learn Enough From Legends: Arceus (2)
(Video) Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: GAMEFREAK, We Deserved Better.

The official reason why Pokémon games always come in pairs is suspect but makes some sense - random drops plagued the creator in other games and so he wanted to make a system to trade items and Pokémon. In the early days, handhelds were restricted to single-player games, but the Game Boy link cable was a way to transfer data from one system to another. Carrying around a link cable and encouraging real-world interaction was a great way to mimic the way battles and trades happened. It also helped get players involved in the process of collecting.

Having a dual release, even for the newPokémon Scarlet and Violet games,incentivizes players to make a choice somewhat unique to themselves. Even if there were only two versions, making this decision enticed a lot of people to try out the series and tie their experience to a game that not everyone else would have. For years, this worked and was a novel way to make the games seem different from one another, but one other aspect that helped was the release of the so-called "solitary versions" like Pokémon Emerald andPokémon Platinum. These games provided a full Pokémon experience for people that missed out on a generation or wanted to experience all the content at a lower price.

Pokémon'sDual Release FormatIs Antiquated

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Didn’t Learn Enough From Legends: Arceus (3)

This being said, the reasoning doesn’t help the fact thatScarlet and Violet are open-world,full console releases and will both most likely retail at a full $60 price tag on release day. Handheld games once retailed for less than a full console release, but since the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid console, the price tag is made with console gaming in mind. The price for both games is $120, which feels expensive for what's essentially a duplicate copy, especially when solitary versions have been phased out in recent years.


In the modern age, trading Pokémon isn’t as big as training Pokémon, shiny hunting, battling other players, and story progression. It should be possible to get nearly every Pokémon one needs, and brand loyalty shouldn’t need to be tested by having two separate versions for people to buy. Grinding and fully completing a Pokédex are a much more common practice than it was when the series started, and overall the video games work better as a single-player collectathon that transition into a multiplayer battling and trading experience. The old system which relies on in-person trades to complete the single-player content is outdated, and it would be nice to have the option to 100-percent the single-player mode without having to buy two games.

(Video) Why Isn't Enamorus In Modern Pokemon Games? - Pokemon Legends Arceus Theory

Sword & Shield Double Packs Prove This Pokémon Trend Will Continue

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Didn’t Learn Enough From Legends: Arceus (4)

The biggest problem is that since so many interchangeable assets between games, there’s not a lot of new content to explore with each game. As sort of a band-aid fix to this issue, Pokémon Sword and Shield were released in a Double Pack which included both games. Last time the Double Pack was released, there wasn’t a discount for buying the games bundled together. Some recent and retro Pokémon products are still expensivedue to scarcity as well. There’s no reason to buy these games in bulk other than for players who want the full experience and a physical copy.

Still, the Double Pack proves that Game Freak doesn't have any intention of stopping this trend and knows that selling both games in a single package will attract hardcore fans. It's of little cost to Game Freak to develop two similar versions, and the release method has been grandfathered in from the Game Boy classics. If there were more unique differences like story missions or character changes between versions, this method might make more sense and even justify two purchases - right now, it's just not worth the price.

Does Game Freak See Pokémon Legends: Arceus As A Spinoff?

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Didn’t Learn Enough From Legends: Arceus (5)

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is an experiment in many senses, but Legends: Arceus is officially inPokémoncore series. However, even though Scarlet and Violet look similar to the game graphically, what the gameplay will look like remains to be seen. This is important as if Pokémon Legends: Arceus is ultimately being relegated to spinoff territory, there’s a likely possibility that the game won't have the series-changing effect fans might be hoping for.

(Video) Pokemon Violet is a stable game with no glitches at all

Related: Pokémon Lore That Legends: Arceus Totally Retcons

Pokémon Legends: Arceus pitches itself as a game focused primarily on capturing and documenting Pokémon, ditching gym battles, random encounters, and the city/route format of the old games. While the strategic battling aspect of the main Pokémon games are a core part of the game and have returned to form with hard battles in BDSP, a focus on capturing may be viewed by Game Freak as what sets Arceus apart from the core titles. In that case, none of the interesting gameplay additions or marketing elements might make it into the main series.

There’s still a lot of questions circling around Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Pokémon’s official Twitteraccount tweeted in the announcement for Scarlet and Violet made it clear that this is going to be an open-world experience - the extent to which that’s true is still up in the air. The game does look like a step up from Sword and Shield, but obviously this first look hasn’t done too much to explain the gameplay style beyond the quick glimpse of Pokémon walking the fields. What the game will play like and how much it will have learned from the gameplay success of Arceus is yet to be seen.

Even for other games in similar genres like Mario Odyssey or Breath of the Wild, it’s strange to see so many environments running at an in-game resolution in the early trailers. It’s clear that Game Freak has taken a lot of visual cues from Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Despite its rough appearance and disappointing business practices, Scarlet and Violet’s trailer does seem like an honest depiction of what the game will look like. Hopefully, the success of Pokémon Legends: Arceus can lead to at least the return of solitary versions like Pokémon Emerald or Platinum that include both games for the price of just one.


Source: Pokémon/Twitter


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