Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Needs New Trainer Types

Pokemon trainers are an odd breed. The act of training Pokemon for battling in and of itself does pay decent money if you tour every region, best every gym, and be the very best like no one ever was, but for most schmucks it’s just a hobby. I guess it’s a lot like video games – our trainer, the hero of the story, is a Ninja or a Pokimane, while the rest of the trainers we meet are just average Joes plodding along, training Pokemon on the side. As we head to Scarlet & Violet, we need some fresh trainer types.

Because being a trainer is a hobby or side hustle for most folks, they’re often dressed for their day jobs as they wander the streets looking for challengers, or even actively at work. Sailors, Fishers, Drivers, Firefighters, Cameramen, Magicians, Police Officers, Office Workers, and many other trainer types point to trainers who clearly have other concerns in life than training Pokemon. Then there’s the trainers whose class is more of a hobby than a job, but it still tells us a lot about them; Juggler, Cyclist, Hiker, Beauty, Swimmer, and so on. These are a classic staple of Pokemon, and we need to see the tradition grow in Paldea.

I’ve written before about these trainer types. I’ve always felt a little short changed that we play as a very generic little kid while our opponents get to be Firebreather Billy. But I’ve made my peace with it. Sword & Shield offered a decent range of customisation for your trainer, and I only expect that to grow in Scarlet & Violet. But knowing we can never be a Beauty or a Magician only makes me more eager to see what else Paldea has in store for us.

Pokemon is always best when it’s a bit silly and creative. For all the gameplay improvements and extra trimmings in Sword & Shield, my favourite element of the game was the Ball Guy. Just a guy dressed like a Poke Ball. Clearly a riff on the sporting motif of Galar’s culture, Ball Guy perfectly suited everything Sword & Shield embodied, while also managing to think outside the box. Scarlet & Violet needs to keep that spirit. Paldea is based on Iberia, so a continuation of the sporting theme would be welcome, but it’s understandable if the developers choose to go in a different direction too.

Iberian culture is, like a lot of southern European culture, is enamoured by history and mythos. Lyrical legends, ancient architecture, and artistic traditions that have survived centuries are all at the heart of Iberia. Pokemon has always been theatrical, but it has never really looked at theatre culture in depth. We have Actor trainers, but they’re more Hollywood than Thespian.

Any musically oriented characters we meet tend to be very modern like the Rocker rather than more classic and contemplative – could they be an area Paldea taps for new trainers? Dancers, too, have a modern flair (or at least a ‘fellow kids’ style interpretation of the mega cool clothes those happenin’ urban break dancers wear), leaving room for a more romantic Iberian flamenco dancer to strut into. There’s a range of possibilities. Scarlet & Violet will likely have an underlying theme, like sports in Sword & Shield. What that theme is doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that Pokemon explores it deeply, creatively, and most of all, with a Ball Guy level of silliness.

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