It’s been a few months since we’ve gotten any updates about the exciting new merger from Pokemon and Niantic titled Pokemon Go – a real world Pokemon App for iOS and Android. Well with Pokemon finally in it’s 20th year of celebration, the news is going to start pouring in and this past week we just got a bunch of new details from Pokemon and Niantic – including some actual in-game footage. And I’m happy to announced that most of these new reveals we actually hypothesized and detailed in our last article detailing Why You Should/Shouldn’t be Excited for the Pokemon Go .
Though despite this, it’s still important to take a look at these confirmations and see what else we can discover about it.
Game Opening – Customization & Set Up:
New Demo footage was leaked a little while ago that not only confirms our beliefs about character customization (a fairly new development in Pokemon game series) but also brings us back to the original days of Pokemon as we are asked ‘What should we be called’. Pokemon Go is truly bringing our childhoods to life as we get to experience ‘the world of Pokemon’ within the real world. Although, if you still want to keep them partially separated (ie: don’t want to use the built in camera) – additional screenshots show that these options can be toggled on and off and you will encounter Pokemon in actual landscape and in a makeshift virtual realm.
Catching & Evolving Pokemon – Location, Location, Old & New Location:
Obviously catching Pokemon is the main mechanic of this game; but how exactly will we catch them? I’ll into more detail about some of these in the next section, but basically you acquire Pokemon in Pokemon Go through the use of Pokeballs and Special Events in which you receive Pokemon Eggs. Though above all this, there is ONE THING you must remember – this is the immersive game we were hoping for. As the official release confirms, some Pokemon WILL be location specific. The example they obviously use is water Pokemon near bodies of water; but it’s much more than that. Even if they’re just sticking to the original 150 Pokemon for this game – at least at first – that still offers tremendous variety and re-playability.
The release advises wannabe trainers to always have their Pokemon Go with them especially when they go on trips as they can discover Pokemon they wouldn’t otherwise see. This is not going to be your ‘sit at home’ or even ‘walk around the block’ type of game. If you want to be the very best like no one ever was, you’re going to have to be adventurous and take some trips. Now before you get up in arms, remember that that isn’t such a tall task. They’re not asking you to climb Mt Everest or walk 5000 miles; but simply visit new places which you should already be doing in your life. Whether you’re going to the beach for the weekend, skiing with friends or going camping with family, take Pokemon Go with you to make sure you don’t miss out on any new and exotic species. This game is striving to be as big a part of your life as you can.
Though don’t take this to mean you should never stay in one place; because if you do want to stay around your neighborhood, there’s plenty of other perks you can explore as evolution in this game is accomplished via multi-captures. If you catch a certain number of the same Pokemon, you can then evolve one of those Pokemon. How many extras you must catch remains to be seen especially since leveling of Pokemon is still something unexplored in these new releases. It could be that catching multiple copies of a Pokemon increases that Pokemon’s level (ie: 7 Weedles = a Lvl 7 Weedle). Then again, there has to be more to it because whereas that idea could work for common Pokemon, it’d be much harder for rarer ones (ie: needing 40+ Rhyhorn to evolve into Rhydon). And even if you can’t travel too much, there’s still a chance for you to become a great trainer.
Owning Your Domanin – Pokestops, Gyms & Other Real World Locations:
As with the Gameboy games, Pokemon Go is much more than just encountering, catching and evolving wild Pokemon. As I mentioned in the last section, even if you don’t travel you can still encounter otherwise unseen Pokemon and this is thanks to the previously mentioned Special Events. On the Pokemon Go app screen, you won’t just see nearby Pokemon but also nearby real world locations that hold new and exciting challenges & rewards for you. The most important of which are Pokestops, which will be set up at PUBLIC locations and famous landmarks – aka nowhere you’d be arrested for walking into. Pokestops will not only serve as PokeMarts of sorts, but also places where you can find random gifts and items, such as Pokemon Eggs. Like the game, Pokemon Eggs will hatch depending on your steps, which again makes perfect sense for this game.
Beyond PokeStops there will also be Pokemon Gyms where you and teammates will set up your own challenge for all competitors. Much like how Niantic’s previous real-world game Ingress had competing teams, Pokemon Go will have 3 yet-to be-named factions – but I’m willing to bet it’ll be the Red, Blue and Green Teams. A faction can take control of a gym and deposit a Pokemon to guard that Gym, which opens up a ton of teamwork opportunities for ‘gym buddies’ coordinating which Pokemon to leave. Referencing the earlier game trailer footage, a Gym Battle is most likely what we see at the playground. If the challengers win, then they take control of that Gym. If they loose, then perhaps there’s an exchange of goods – Crystals perhaps, which seem to be a sort of in-game currency.
Add-Ons & Other Things To Keep You Going – Pokemon Go Plus, Achievements & Trainer Level:
The two concerns people might have with this game is that 1) They’re worried they’ll always be looking at the phone. 2) It’ll get boring after you catch them all. As far as #1 is concerned, how would that be different from everyday life in the first place? But seriously though, you don’t have to keep your phone constantly in your face to see if there’s any Pokemon nearby – that’s what the Pokemon Go Plus is for. At its simplest use the Go Plus will alert players with vibration and an LED light about any nearby Pokemon. Though if you want more from the Go Plus, it can do that as well considering it’s main button can be used to catch Pokemon and other simple task (ie: picking up gift items I’d assume).
Now as for #2, again it’s unclear whether this is just 150 Pokemon or all 700+; but even if it just starts with 150 it can always expand like the games. And even if that’s STILL not enough for you, Pokemon Go will also come with its own list of Achievements. Since Gyms are something player run, Achievement Badges will work a lot like Gym Badges as you can display them on your profile. Additionally, there is even something known as Trainer Level and even though not much is known about it at the moment, Achievement Badges could be one such thing that contributes to it.
Trainer Level will most likely be the accumulation of everything you’ve done (ie: exp via number of battles, captures, achievements, steps taken, etc). As your Trainer level increases, you’ll not only be able to gain access to better items (ie: Pokeball -> Great Ball -> Ultra Ball -> Master Ball), but also start encountering even stronger Pokemon. Now whether this simply means the usual area Pokemon at higher levels, evolved forms or completely new Pokemon all together remains to be seen. Either way, it’s looking more and more like this is the Pokemon Game we’ve been waiting for. This isn’t a game to rush through, but rather enjoy and remember why Pokemon became such a big part of your life in the first place.