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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's biggest bug isn't what you think

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is no stranger to bugs and glitches. However, the latest issue uncovered by players runs deeper than the occasional texture pop. 

Fans of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's competitive multiplayer have uncovered an alarming fault in the game's PvP Battle Stadium. In short, it looks like every single PvP battle in the stadium uses the same RNG (random number generator) seed when generating randomized outcomes in battle. 

In practical terms, this means players can learn the order of what attacks will hit and miss, and coordinate their moves accordingly. Given the RNG component of Pokémon battles, this is a serious issue for competitive players. For instance: moves with an accuracy of 90% or less seem guaranteed to miss the first time they're used (via Reddit), and so players are learning to avoid them, hoping their opponent uses them first. Players on Twitter also reported similar problems. 

This bug goes beyond the more aesthetic and technical issues in Scarlet and Violet and directly affects the systems at the heart of the Pokémon experience.

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System shock

The Awkward Middle Evolution

(Image credit: Future)

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's Nintendo Switch release is riddled with performance issues and bugs, with texture pop in and characters interrupting cutscenes as two of the most noticeable issues. However, this particular problem eclipses choppy animations and framerate issues. This RNG error afflicts the very heart of Pokémon: the battle system. 

Like any of the best RPGs out there, Pokémon lives and dies on its combat mechanics. The tense back and forth of pocket monster combat and the delicate arithmetic that keeps it afloat has been at the very core of the Pokémon experience since the days of Red and Blue. 

Those clutch moments in a Pokémon battle, where we've been pushed to our limit, are what make the games. The familiar alarm sound effect rings out as our pocket pal's health falls into the red. We dig deep, grit our teeth, and go for a last-ditch, risky attack to try and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In that final moment, we cross our fingers and hope that luck is on our side. 

With a broken RNG seed in its PvP mode, Pokémon simply can't deliver on that experience for competitive players in the same way, and it breaks my heart a little.


Pokemon Karmesin und Purpur Open World

(Image credit: Nintendo / The Pokémon Company / GAME FREAK)

Despite even this newly uncovered problem, Scarlet and Violet remain full of bold and innovative features that push the envelope on Pokémon in a big way. However, it is concerning that the depth and breadth of the bugs affecting the game are sufficiently broad to undermine the core battle system.  

Competitive Pokémon battles have been a staple of the Pokémon fan community since the very beginning of the series. The fact that Game Freak dropped the (Poké)ball here, too, is disappointing because it's possible to release ambitious, open-world titles for the Switch and for them to run elegantly; just look at Xenoblade Chronicles 3 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

By not catching this bug before launch, Game Freak has introduced a flaw into the Pokémon's most important system.

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