Although the series is all about friendship and connections, this is the first time we’re seeing a full-fledged open-world co-op mode in a Pokemon game. In the trailer, a geeky Pokemon trainer exclaims “The power of science is amazing! If you connect with friends you can head out on adventures together – up to four of you at a time!”
It briefly shows four different trainers connecting online, meeting up, and then sprinting off into deserts, snowy mountains, caverns, and grassy plains while still seemingly being in an online session. Pokemon is still finding its ground in this new decade, and this multiplayer focus could be what helps the series forge an identity on the Switch. Historically, Nintendo’s network services haven’t been the smoothest, so it’s safe to be cautiously optimistic about this online co-op until we have more information available.
The closest the Pokemon has come to a concurrent multiplayer system in the past has been through battles, trading, and most notably the two-player drop-in co-op for Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee in 2018. Let’s Go allows players to summon up a friend within the first 20 minutes, treating the second player as a double-battle assist to the primary player’s party.
Game Freak posted a blog further explaining Pokemon Scarlet & Violet‘s co-op saying: “Along with series staples, such as trading and battling Pokemon, you will be able to explore the various locations of the region in these games with other players. You can discover new Pokemon and explore unfamiliar areas with your friends and family, opening the door to an adventure more precious and fun than ever!”
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet release globally, with co-op, for the Nintendo Switch on November 18, 2022.