Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Iberian Influences Game Freak Should Take Advantage Of
The latest Pokémon-focused presentation by Game Freak shocked us all by showcasing that Gen IX is coming sooner than expected. Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet are slated for a late 2022 release. The trailer showcased more than we could have imagined, most notably its brand new, yet to be named region, which is clearly based on the Iberian Peninsula as a whole, as per the map design seen during one of the trailer’s cutscenes.
The Iberian Peninsula, home to Portugal and Spain, is a place full of notable fauna, flora, and most importantly, cultural and historical elements that have shaped not only the culture of those countries, but the world as a whole. Assuming Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet will follow the trend set by Pokémon Sword and Shield, with most of its new pokémon being inspired on its region’s sources of inspiration, I came up with a few ideas of cultural and biological elements Game Freak should design some new monsters after.
What is it?: A mythological character created by Portugal’s Luís de Camões, arguably the most important author in that country’s history, for his epic poem, The Lusíadas. Adamastor is described as the personification of the storms and waves found in the Cape of Good Hope, and manifests itself out of a storm.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: While we do have pokémon based on storms and the perils of the sea, such as Thundurus and Lugia, a game based on the Iberian Peninsula demands a Legendary or Mythical monster representing the perils of navigating through uncharted seas. That would preferably result in a Water/Eletric-type Legendary.
What is it?: If we are considering that the entire Iberian Peninsula will be the setting for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, we can assume the small British territory of Gibraltar has a chance of being included in this brand new region as well. The Barbary macaque can be found in Gibraltar, being the only species of primates, other than humans, to be native to Europe.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: We still haven’t been graced with a macaque pokémon after all these years, so my suggestion would be creating a brand-new line to take advantage of the design and setting. As for the typing, a Ground-type macaque would be the safest bet.
What is it?: This huge bird comes originally from Africa and Asia, but has settled permanently in the central region of the Iberian Peninsula.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: We could have a regional variant of Fearow, a pokémon that, while not 100% based on a stork, sure does look like one.
What is it?: The controversial sport is a staple of both Spanish and Portuguese cultures, even if younger generations condemn it.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: There is no need for a new fighting bull pokémon. Tauros exists, so either a regional Fighting-type variant or a brand new evolution, one players have been asking for years, if not decades, would suffice.
What is it?: The impermeable material extracted from the aptly named cork oak. Both countries in the Iberian Peninsula produce cork, but Portugal is the world’s largest producer of the material.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: Cork is known for being impermeable, so the best idea for a cork-based pokémon to make a Grass-type one featuring an ability that gives it complete immunity towards Water-type attacks.
What is it?: Do we really need to explain what the hell a dolphin is? Well, let’s just say that dolphins can be seen in the coasts of Portugal and Spain. And we all love dolphins. Game Freak, give us a dolphin.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: Not counting the orca-inspired Kyogre, we still don’t have a proper dolphin-inspired pokémon. It will obviously be a Water-type monster, but make one with a ludicrously high Special Defense stat, as a nod to its high intelligence.
What is it?: The faun isn’t exactly a staple of Spanish culture. The mythical creature is actually of Greek/Roman origin. With that being said, it has become a lot more iconic in modern Spanish culture due to its appearance in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, which is set in Francoist Spain.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: That’s an easy choice. Create a brand new Fairy-type faun pokémon. The Iberian Peninsula isn’t exactly known for fairytale creatures or mythological beings, so we should take anything we can get.
What is it?: The Iberian lynx is easily the most recognizable carnivore to come from the Iberian Peninsula, and Western Europe as a whole.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: I am dead certain that the brand new Grass-type starter, Sprigatito, is either based on an Iberian lynx or will eventually evolve into a pokémon based on one.
What is it?: Seafood is an important part of the dietary life of Spain and Portugal, with lampreys being one of the most widely consumed animals in these countries. “Arroz de lampr´ria”, or lamprey rice, is one of the most important dishes in Portuguese cuisine.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: A brand new regional variant for the Eelektross evolutionary line. Whether you want to completely change its type or just add a secondary one is another discussion whatsoever, but a region based on the Iberian Peninsula needs a regional variant of one of Gen V’s most unique pokémon.
What is it?: Olive trees are a staple plant in the entirety of the Mediterranean. Portugal and Spain are the world’s largest olive producers.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: We have two options. The easier one would be creating a brand new Grass-type family of olive and olive tree-inspired pokémon. The other idea would be creating a brand new regional variant for Exeggcute, replacing its seed/egg physiology for olives, with a brand new regional evolution to boot. Granted, having an Exeggcute not based on eggs would sound silly, but hey, we were graced with an Ice/Steel-type Sandslash back in Alola. Anything goes at this point.
What is it?: Alongside tapas and jamón iberico, paella is easily the most famous dish to come from Spain. Original paella recipes feature rabbit meat, chicken and rice, but the dish is also known for its shrimp-based variants. Those variants are so iconic to the point of being more famous than the original chicken-based recipes.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: The idea isn’t to have a pokémon based on paella per se, but actually based on a reddish fire shrimp, a staple ingredient of paella as a whole. The perfect way to introduce a Fire/Water-type non-Legendary or Mythical pokémon into the roster.
PARC GUELL LIZARD
What is it?: One of the most famous attractions in Barcelona’s iconic Parc Guell is a colorful salamander/lizard statue with mosaic tiles for scales.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: Funnily enough, the Parc Guell Lizard is actually known in Barcelona as “El Drac”, or “The Dragon”. My suggestion would be creating a brand new Rock/Dragon-type pokémon to take advantage of this incredibly colorful and unique source of inspiration.
What is it?: Pablo Picasso’s blend of surrealist and cubist art styles is most certainly the single most famous art style of Spain and the 20th century as a whole. His most painting, Guernica, is considered a national symbol of Spain.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: Good question! Picasso’s surreal art style isn’t exactly an easy fit for a pokémon, but a Rock or Bug-type pokémon featuring cubist art on its shell, skin or carapace would be an original idea.
PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
What is it?: A popular breed native to the Algarve region in Southern Portugal, the Portuguese water dog is known for its curly fur, its webbed feet adapted for swimming, and for not shedding. The Portuguese water dog has recently gained more fame by being the chosen breed of Barack Obama during his tenure at the White House.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: This is not exactly a rule set in stone, but most generations thus far have included at least one new dog pokémon family line. The Portuguese water dog, with its unique biological features, would result in a neat Water-type design that isn’t a fish or other sea animal.
ROOSTER OF BARCELOS
What is it?: The national symbol of Portugal, the “protagonist” of a tale in which a man, falsely accused by a crime he did not commit, dared to state a dead rooster would sing in case he was innocent. And so it did.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: The easy answer would be a simple flying type, but considering its origin as a dead rooster brought back to life to prove one man’s innocence, a Ghost-type would be a fantastic addition, especially considering there are still no proper “traditional” roosters in the Pokémon roster.
What is it?: Both Portugal and Spain were responsible for kickstarting the Age of Discoveries, including the colonization of the Americas, with their advancements on naval engineering during the late 15th century.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: The brand new Water-type starter, Quaxly, is shaping up to become the sailor pokémon this region absolutely needs.
SERRA DA ESTRELA SHEEP
What is it?: Portugal’s Serra da Estrela region is Iberia’s highest and coldest region, with frequent snowfall during winter months. Not only is the region known for its climate, which goes against the peninsula’s famous Mediterranean vibes, but it also thrives on its sheep herding industry.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: We don’t exactly need a new sheep pokémon. Between Mareep and Wooloo, a brand new regional variant of Mareep, doning a dual Electric/Ice type to fit in with the region’s cold climate, would be the best bet.
What is it?: Even though they were shot by Italian film companies, and known for featuring American actor Clint Eastwood, most Spaghetti Westerns from the 60s and 70s, such as Sergio Leone’s flicks, were filmed in Almería, in Southern Spain, Europe’s driest region.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: The best way to take advantage of this design would be by creating a brand new pokémon based on Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, complete with poncho, sombrero and a means to shoot pulse-based attacks or moves like Bullet Seed. Its ability could be either Sniper or Mega Launcher.
What is it?: Very common in Northern Portugal and Spain, stoats are mustelids, closely related to animals like ferrets, badgers, weasels, and otters. All of those have already been represented with pokémon designs in the past.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: Every new Pokémon game needs a new early route “rodent”. Even though stoats are mustelids, other non-rodent pokémon like Sentret and Zigzagoon have filled that role in the past.
THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY
What is it?: Catalonia-born Salvador Dalí’s most famous painting, and also the most famous piece of Surrealist art, The Persistence of Memory is well-known for its usage of melting pocket watches, representing “an unconscious symbol of the relativity of space and time”.
What kind of pokémon could take advantage of this influence?: With the exception of the time-based legendary Dialga, not many, if any, pokémon have featured the control of time as their main gimmick. A brand new, melted clock pokémon would be the best bet, namely a Steel/Psychic-type, not unlike Yu-Gi-Oh‘s Time Wizard.
What are your ideas for Iberian-based pokémon designs? Leave your thoughts below!