Nintendo and The Pokemon Company dropped a new Pokemon Scarlet and Violet trailer this week, and alongside the reveals of new Pokemon and characters, the preview contained another big surprise: A multiplayer component. Hinted at in the trailer and confirmed in an accompanying press release, these new Pokemon games will feature a multiplayer option that’ll allow people to explore the vast region with up to four players at once, a first for the series. Though it wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the announcement, Pokemon players can probably bank on Nintendo Switch Online being required in order to participate in this multiplayer component.
The tease about multiplayer in Scarlet and Violet took place around 58 seconds into the trailer whenever we saw four different Trainers side by side. At first glance, it looked like it was simply showing off the different customization options available in the new games as well as the region’s different biomes. And it does do that, but it was apparently also showing us that you’d be able to play with friends in these games beyond simply hanging out with the Pokemon you carry with you on your journey.
“Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet are the first open-world RPGs in the Pokemon series,” the press release from The Pokemon Company said. “Along with series staples, such as trading and battling Pokemon, players will be able to explore the various locations of the region in these games with up to four players.”
A disclaimer at the bottom of the announcement reminded players that “Additional games, systems and/or accessories may be required for multiplayer mode.” We’d assume that means Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions are required for each player who wanted to partake, too, but it’s unclear at this time how, exactly, the multiplayer component will work beyond what was shown and announced on Wednesday.
This multiplayer reveal naturally leads to other questions about how the games will handle that new feature. Pokemon games have incorporated multiplayer components in the past through things like raids and team battles, but how will Pokemon Scarlet and Violet deal with things like random Pokemon encounters be they instanced or shared between players?
The new Pokemon games will be out in November, so we’re bound to learn more about this multiplayer component and every other aspect of the games between now and then.