I’m Not Convinced a DLC Can Save Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Sometimes it's best to move on than attempt to fix

by Kara Phillips

The release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in November 2022 was highly anticipated since its first announcement in February, but when games hit shelves and trainers desperately dusted off their consoles and PokéDex, the Paldean Region wasn’t precisely what we’d been waiting for. The vast majority of players left feeling underwhelmed with the experience, and the game itself had a huge amount of holes to patch up, and even though the audience reception was a mixed bag, there’s still the pleading for something more.

Between patch updates and the consistent launch of various Tera Raid Events, players are rapidly reaching the end of the line with Generation Nine, but when one door closes, Game Freak finds another to open, which means one thing — a DLC. Similarly to the treatment of Sword and Shield, the release of a DLC may be the saving grace for Scarlet and Violet and reignite the initial excitement experienced during release. But I can’t help feeling like Scarlet and Violet might be too far gone for a DLC to save what could’ve been.

A DLC Won’t Patch the Holes of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Rumors of a DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet began circulating before the game had even been released and continues to be openly discussed despite the disappointment. Talks of new Paradox Pokémon and entirely new regional islands to explore are bound to get any player excited, but once you start thinking about it, how will a DLC fare when the base game doesn’t feel strong enough to support itself, let alone further content? From the perspective of someone who’s loved the Pokémon franchise for decades, I’m not prepared to pay half the cost of the base game for a similarly disappointing experience.

In a way, the release of a DLC rather than following on from release and launching an update to target the issues players have been facing feels like a plea for more money because anything with Pokémon branding is bound to be picked up, especially for a curious new player. But what makes previous Pokémon games like Diamond and Pearl so successful on their own is the fact they didn’t need any additional content to become such staples in any Trainers Library, which leads me to believe that even The Pokémon Company aren’t confident in their release either, hence the solid lean on supporting content.

The Gen 8 Treatment

It doesn’t come as a surprise that players expect a DLC despite their experience and opinion of the game, especially following off the back of Pokémon Sword and Shield, which quickly received the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLC less than a year after their release. But if you look back, Sword and Shield are widely regarded as some of the least popular Pokémon games, and even with a DLC, they’re rarely talked about, so there’s no guarantee that Scarlet and Violet won’t get the same treatment. And at least Sword and Shield had semi-decent walking animations and tolerable gameplay, which didn’t leave you falling through the map.

So I find that the current state of mainline Pokémon games is like riding a rollercoaster. The climb to the top and the anticipation of what’s to come is more exciting than the drop itself, which only lasts a number of moments before you’re ready to either go again or try something else, which I’m starting to find applies to Pokémon’s reputation on Nintendo Switch. Rather than churning out content as often as possible to stay relevant, it’s time Game Freak took a step back and listened to what their players want, regardless of how many years it might take to perfect. I’d rather wait to relive parts of my childhood than pick something up and question why I enjoyed the franchise in the first place.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are available on Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on February 8th, 2023