How does multiplayer work in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet?

You can finally play Pokémon with friends outside of battles and trades.

Image via The Pokémon Company

Pokémon has always incorporated multiplayer elements in its games, starting with the ability to trade and battle in the original Red, Blue, and Japan’s Green.

Each generation brings new additions to the multiplayer suite of content offered, changing things and making the games evolve in new ways. And, even from early on, this is something Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is putting a focus on.

When it was first revealed, Game Freak confirmed SV would be the first true attempt at an open-world game for the franchise where players can “explore an open world where various towns with no borders blend seamlessly into the wilderness.” The developers also noted players will be able to tackle the game’s locations in any order, without relying on items or story to unlock certain paths. The exact specifics of how that will work have yet to be shared.

With that open-world element fully incorporated and the developers looking to take the game in a new direction in many ways, a new form of multiplayer is a big focus for SV.

What kind of multiplayer does Pokémon Scarlet and Violet feature? 

It isn’t quite at that MMORPG level, but SV does offer the most impressive multiplayer experience of any core Pokémon title. For the first time ever, players will be able to actively play a Pokémon game with up to three friends on the same “server”—SV supports four-player online co-op. No details about offline multiplayer have been shared but it is unlikely it will be used in any significant way, if it appears at all.

This is a big departure from Sword and Shield’s Wild Area, which had previously allowed players to connect to the internet and bring in more than four characters from other players into their game. However, those were all NPCs simply using another player’s data to simulate looks and name. None of them moved in real-time and the only interaction you could have was occasionally talking to them and getting an item.

SV’s four-player multiplayer seems to be much more intrinsic to the gameplay, with players able to emote to each other, interact in various ways, and play the game alongside each other in real-time. 

How does Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s online features & multiplayer work?

While we don’t have concrete details on just what online features SV will have, outside of trading, battling, and multiplayer options, we can do a little deducing on just how the online features will function. 

A lot of the decisions so far in SV show locations like Pokémon Centers and Gyms, if that is what was shown in the trailer, being moved outside for the first time. No reason has been given for this, but it could show Game Freak is trying to limit how many sequences involve players going into different areas, which could disrupt their online connection.

You will likely still need open a menu to turn on communication features once they become available, but early on, it appears like SV is specifically being designed to keep players online and playing with others with that seamless, open-world model. 

More details should be shared ahead of the games’ worldwide Nov. 18 release.