On Feb. 27, Nintendo held a “Pokémon Presents” live event. These events usually give small updates on current Pokémon games, announce special gifts or activities available in current games and sometimes announce new games. Fans were expecting updates to Pokémon Unite and Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which was just released at the end of January this year. Instead, any small updates were overshadowed by the surprise announcements of two brand new Pokémon games coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year.

In a dramatic trailer that gave a sneak peek into the new Pokémon region, fans saw many well-loved Pokémon wandering freely around a new landscape.

The trailer showcased two main areas, one seaside cottage with red brick details and luscious greenery. Familiar faces like Pikachu and Swablu frolicked around a massive town square decorated with colorful bricks and banners hanging from a tower with a Pokéball statue on top.

This scenery made it obvious to devoted fans – aware of the fact that every game in the franchise is set in regions based on real places in the world – that this new generation is inspired by the landscape and culture of Spain. Though Nintendo hasn’t confirmed this or given the new region a name yet, there are plenty of other hints that point to a game inspired by Spanish culture.

The first clue is the names of the games themselves. The names Scarlet and Violet differentiate the two versions of the game and remind me of the original generation of Pokémon with versions Red and Blue. Though Pokémon Scarlet and Violet aren’t the first games in the series to use color names as their differentiators, there might be a historical reason why it is the case this time around.

The flag of Spain today is red and yellow, but below is the flag of the Second Spanish Republic from the 1930s:

Flag of Second Spanish Republic by Ulaidh~commonswiki licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Look familiar?

Image courtesy of The Official Pokémon Youtube Channel / Youtube

This also might give a clue to what types of historical references and technology we might see in the game. There is a possibility that the game is also set during the early to mid–twentieth century, which could provide some unique storylines. Though the games in the series are filled with new technology to help players travel with, store, and manage their Pokémon, often the characters and places you see along the journey hold stories of a different time. Just like with Pokémon Sword and Shield, which had landscapes and Pokémon based on the history of Great Britain, Scarlet and Violet are already showcasing their ties to Spain even just through their names. Players can anticipate seeing more Spanish architecture and characters full of personality in the new games.

Another heavy hint that the game is inspired by Spain lies in the names of the three cute Pokémon you can choose from as your companion at the beginning of the game. Starter Pokémon have always been a key element of every Pokémon game, and they often go on to become the most iconic Pokémon of their generation. Here are the three friends you can choose from once you start playing Pokémon Scarlet or Violet:

Image courtesy of The Official Pokémon Youtube Channel / Youtube

Sprigatito, or the grass cat Pokémon, includes a play on the word “gatito”, which means kitten in Spanish. Fuecoco, the center Pokémon, alludes to “fire crocodile”.

I’ve played a lot of Pokémon games since I was young, and I’ve always chosen either a water or a grass-type starter Pokémon. I’ve just always been drawn to the designs of water-type Pokémon, and occasionally the grass designs are too cute to resist. But Fuecoco is definitely going to change this pattern. I’m a huge fan of creatures that look a little silly and maybe even confused about what is going on around them (I’m a big Quagsire fan), and I feel like Fuecoco gives off those vibes perfectly. The little crocodile is exactly what I look for in a companion to start off my adventure.

Nintendo still hasn’t released any information about how these three starter Pokémon will evolve as you play the game, but fans are anxiously waiting to see how their choice will pan out.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are scheduled to be released “in late 2022” according to the official website. For the last few titles in the series, this has meant a mid-November release, usually the week before Thanksgiving in the United States. So if you’re starting to plan out which games to play for the rest of 2022, I would definitely put this on the list!

Thumbnail image courtesy of The Official Pokémon Youtube Channel / Youtube.