All of the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet differences and version exclusives explained

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company/Nintendo)

There are some notable Pokemon Scarlet and Violet differences and version exclusive features. And with the release date just a matter of days away, it's worth knowing how each version differs to help you decide which game to get. From different characters to what  critters will appear in the wild, knowing what sets each game will help any trainers who are looking to complete their Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Pokedex in the new Paldea region. 

If you've been a long-time fan of the series, you may already be familiar with how content is split between version. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will for the most part be identical in terms of the experience they offer - with the same setting, mechanics, and story - but there are some key differences that may make you want to pick up one version over the other. Below, you'll find all of the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet differences we currently know about in the leadup to release. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet version exclusive Pokemon

Pokemon Scarlet Violet

(Image credit: Game Freak)

Following in a longstanding tradition of the series, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will feature version-exclusive Pokemon that can only be caught in one of the games. Splitting Pokemon up like this encourages Trainers to come together and trade amongst themselves, furthering the collaborative spirit at the heart of the series – especially for those who want to complete the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Pokedex. Developer Game Freak has only confirmed a handful so far, but they are as follows: 

Pokemon Scarlet version exclusives

  • Armarouge
  • Koraidon
  • Stonjourner
  • Larvitar, Pupitar, and Tyranitar
  • Great Tusk

Pokemon Violet version exclusives

  • Miraidon
  • Eiscue
  • Ceruledge
  • Bagon, Shelgon, and Salamence

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Legendary differences

Pokemon Scarlet Violet Legendary pokemon

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

The Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Legendary Pokemon have been revealed, and they are set to have a more pronounced role than ever before. The Gen 9 Legendaries are going to facilitate traversal in the expansive region of Paldea, with Koraidon (Scarlet exclusive) and Miraidon (Violet exclusive) able to transform into different forms. These shifts will let you travel across land, air, and sea faster than ever before, which should make exploring the open world region effortless – gone are the days of slowly riding along routes on a pushbike. The Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Legendary form differences are:   

Pokemon Scarlet Legendary forms

  • Sprinting Build Koraidon
  • Swimming Build Koraidon
  • Gliding Build Koraidon

Pokemon Violet Legendary forms

  • Drive Mode Miraidon
  • Aquatic Mode Miraidon
  • Glide Mode Miraidon

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet characters

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

(Image credit: Nintendo)

We know that there will be Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet exclusive characters. This isn't entirely new for the series, with Pokemon Sword and Shield launching with version-exclusive Gym Leaders (and later, in the DLC, rivals). For the time being, we only know of two for the Gen 9 game: Professor Sada is Pokemon Scarlet exclusive, while Professor Turo will be on hand to impart wisdom in Pokemon Violet. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet exclusive outfits

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

While these upcoming Switch games will feature full character customization, there will be Pokemon Scarlet and Violet version-exclusive starting outfits. Those of you who pick up Pokemon Scarlet will receive an outfit that contains an orange tie and shorts, along with black sneakers and white tube socks. Pokemon Violet players, on the other hand, will receive an outfit with matching purple tie and shorts, brown shoes, and black tube socks. It isn't yet clear whether the games will feature further unique costumes. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet exclusive Academies

We know that one of the main storylines in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet revolves around your attendance at a Pokemon Academy in the city of Mesagoza – which sits at the heart of the Paldea Region. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet will feature version-specific Academies, with their own names, crest, and school colors. 

In Pokemon Scarlet you will attend the Naranja Academy, complete with an orange and gold motif and a wheel crest. 

In Pokemon Violet you will attend the Uva Academy, which has a purple and silver motif and a berry crest. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet story differences

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Although The Pokemon Company hasn't officially confirmed this, fans believe that there's a time element that will mark the two games apart. They believe that Pokemon Scarlet will embody the past, while Pokemon Violet will look to the future. 

If you take Professors Sada and Turo for example, Scarlet's Sada is dressed in cavewoman-inspired attire, while Violet's Turo is much more modern and almost futuristic. Plus, the word Sada also comes from the Spanish word for past (pasada), while Turo comes from the Spanish word for future (futuro). 

The same can be said for the look of the two legendaries too, with Scarlet's Koraidon looking pretty pre-historic compared to the metallic and glowing elements on Miraidon for Violet.

We won't have long to find out whether the Gen 9 games will make our ranking of the best Pokemon games. While you wait for November, why not check out one of the best Switch games or the best Switch exclusives

Josh West
UK Managing Editor, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the UK Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. He has over 10 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.

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