The female protagonist for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet has just been revealed. It might be that the official art for her was revealed alongside the reveal trailer, and it flew under my radar. But however it happened, the official art for the girl is in the picture above, shown next to the boy.
My initial criticism of the boy was that he was boring and unexpressive. While the girl is cuter (as to be expected), it’s odd that she’s wearing the same outfit that the boy is. To show why this is so unusual, here is a collection of official art for the protagonists for previous games (up to X and Y):
These characters look far more interesting, and the sight of them kinda makes me want to play some of their respective games. These characters are much more colorful and expressive, and are the kind of protagonists that players would want to serve as avatars for a Pokémon experience. And because they were among the selections for previous games, they did a lot to cultivate expectations for subsequent player characters (after all, check out how many of them wear red or white headwear).
It’s because Game Freak has plenty of experience designing male and female protagonists, as well as their fashion options, that I would have expected them to be aware that males and females tend to dress way differently. As is obvious to most, there are obvious physiological and psychological differences between males and females, many of which are expressed through fashion choices. Anytime anyone attempts to dress them in similar outfits, the attempt comes off as unsettling, and a failure to properly acknowledge one of the foundational elements of their identity.
It seems I’m not the only one weirded out by the new protagonists, as artist Profitshame drew up a side-by-side comparison of these protagonists with the ones from Pokémon Sword and Shield:
I have my own theory about why the boy dresses like the girl, and it’s not just because the girl shops for him when he plays Magic: The Gathering with his buddies. I think it’s just easier to design one character instead of two. Either that, or they’re fraternal twins, like the duo gym leaders Tate and Liza.
If Scarlet and Violet are going to be like recent Pokémon games, they’ll include lots of customization options so that at least their outfits wont be so tacky. And personally, I’d prefer playing as a character that doesn’t look like the chess club punches him in the hallways.