Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Release Time: When Can You Start Playing the Game?

After the semi-open worlds of Pokémon Sword/Shield and Pokémon Legends: Arceus, players can’t wait for the truly open-world adventures of Pokémon Scarlet/Violet. Here's when you can start playing the game.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
Photo: Nintendo

It seems like only yesterday Nintendo published Pokémon Sword and Shield and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. In truth, Sword/Shield was released back in 2019 while the open-world-ish Arceus launched earlier this year. Of course, the Pokémon development train never really loses steam, which means that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are almost here.

As with other Nintendo-exclusive titles, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be released at different times in accordance with a staggered release schedule. The game will launch at midnight in every region worldwide except the West Coast (everyone on Pacific Time can start playing at 9 pm, their time).

Of course, technically New Zealanders win that release time race since their clock strikes November 18 before anywhere else in the world, which means they will get to play Pokémon Scarlet and Violet before other gamers. Then again, gamers can cheat the system by using or creating a Nintendo account with New Zealand or Australia as their selected country of residence. Anyone who does this will need to buy Pokémon Scarlet or Violet using gift cards that are good in that region and will have to use that account to play the game. As such, it’s probably not really worth the effort just to save a few scant hours of waiting.

It’s been a surprisingly short road to the next Pokémon game. In February of 2022, Nintendo announced Pokémon Scarlet and Violet for the Nintendo Switch. The trailer showed off the upcoming game’s new starters, as well as Pokémon from past titles wandering around an open world. More importantly, the announcement promised a general release window of “Late 2022,” and since it’s almost 2023, it’s finally time for Nintendo and Game Freak to make good on their promise.

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Several months after the initial announcement, The Official Pokémon YouTube Channel unveiled a second trailer with more new Pokémon (including the flagship living bikes known as Koraidon and Miraidon) and a finalized release date of November 18, 2022. With a few days to go until the 18th and no sign of Nintendo announcing a last-minute delay, it looks like gamers will be able to catch ‘em all again this Friday.

As always, players have their choice of buying a physical or digital copy of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Anyone who purchased a game cartridge for their Nintendo Switch will have to wait until stores open on November 18 to acquire their game, risk attending a midnight release, or cross their fingers and hope their game is delivered quickly.

In this situation, digital game owners have the advantage since, assuming they pre-ordered their copy, they can pre-load Pokémon Scarlet and Violet right now and have it ready to play November 18 on the dot. Anyone who didn’t pre-order and plans on buying the game on or after the 18th won’t have to sit through a long download time since Pokémon Scarlet and Violet only require 7 GB of space.

While Pokémon Scarlet/Violet will release on November 18, Pokémon Fans will have to wait a bit longer for full functionality. According to the official website, these games won’t be compatible with Pokémon HOME until the spring of 2023. But, when the app is finally updated, players will be able to transfer Pokémon from prior games into Scarlet and Violet, including exclusive creatures such as Hisuan Zorua and Zoroark. The reverse will also be also true, but only within reason — Trainers can transfer a Larvitar they caught in Pokémon Scarlet to Pokémon Sword, but Koraidon is out of the question.

With luck, we will also eventually receive DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, but Nintendo has yet to announce a release date for an expansion, or that one even exists. Fingers crossed, though.

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