The augmented-reality smartphone Pokémon may actually live up to the insane hype.
Back in September, we caught our first glimpse of Pokémon Go, the augmented-reality Pokémon smartphone game where you can walk around your neighborhood and catch everyone’s favorite pocket monsters.
In case you missed it, here’s the trailer for the game in all of its hype-inducing glory:
Now if you’re like me, you might be a little skeptical after watching that. The video promises a lot: catching Pokémon you see just walking around, trading them, battling them, and even huge group events to take down big baddies like Mewtwo. It’s all too good to be true, right?
Well, maybe not. Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat sat down with the men in charge of making the game, and their interview shows that not only a lot of what we’ve already seen will be possible in-game, but there’s even more being planned.
The Pokémon Go side of the interview is John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic Labs, the company that made the augmented reality game Ingress. You can read the entire interview transcript here, and scroll down below for some Pokémon Go-specific highlights:
“Our goal is to make it so you can walk out of the house and within five minutes, you can find Pokémon. It may not be the most rare Pokémon in the world, but there’ll be a population of Pokémon living near all our players. Gyms will be a bit more rare. You want to find gyms so you can level up your Pokémon and battle there, so it will take a little more effort to get there.”
Wow. There’s already a lot to take in there, so let’s break it down. This means that: (1) there will be Pokémon pretty much everywhere, so you never have to go out of your way to find something to catch/battle; (2) there will be rarer Pokémon that you do have to go out of your way to find; and (3) there will be gyms. Oh yes, there will be gyms.
Unfortunately we can only speculate on what the gyms will be like right now. Will there be gym leaders? Will the gym leaders be other people or AI? Do you get badges, and, if so, will there be an Elite Four and Champion? The possibilities are downright tantalizing.
“Pokémon will live in different parts of the world depending on what type of Pokémon they are. Water Pokémon will live near the water. It may be that certain Pokémon will only exist in certain parts of the world. Very rare Pokémon may exist in very few places. But you can trade.”
This is pretty exciting. One of the cool things about the Pokémon games ever since the beginning with Red and Blue has been the games’ encouragement of interaction among players to “catch ’em all.” It seems like Pokémon Go will continue that trend with exclusive Pokémon that only live in certain parts of the world.
Of course, that could be frustrating if you happen to live in an area filled with Zubats and Rattatas while your friends on the other side of the world are all catching Dragonites and Charizards. Here’s another quote that expands on the topic:
“We’ll have events for Pokémon as well. Those are competitive, but they can also be places to trade stuff with other players. Pokémon trading is going to be huge. You can’t get all of them by yourself. If you want all of them you’ll have to trade with other players. Or you have to be someone who takes time off work and travels the world for a year. There may be people who do that.”
Traveling the world to catch Pokémon? Well, goodbye obligations and responsibilities!
But in all seriousness, this quote gives us another insight into the game: there will be battling. This isn’t just a catch-and-trade game, there’s training and fighting involved as well. Oh, and events? Events to possibly determine the League Champion? My interested has peaked. No, not “piqued,” peaked.
Another tidbit brought up during the interview is the Pokémon Go Plus, an accompanying device made by Nintendo to wear as a watch. It will alert you when there’s something going on nearby, so that you don’t have to constantly walk around with your face in your phone… not that we all don’t do that already, of course.
▼ Finding potential dates will become even easier after the release, since anyone you’d want to go out with will be wearing one of these babies.
・ポケモンGO情報 Pokémon GO Plusはスマートフォンの画面を見続けなくても『Pokémon GO』を遊ぶことのできるデバイスです。Bluetooth を用いてスマートフォンと連携し近くにポケモンがいるのかも分かります。 https://t.co/skwnTZceFq—
ポケモンＧＯ (@PokemonGO_Plus) November 07, 2015
And lastly one of the most interesting topics brought up: teams.
“There will be teams to join in Pokémon, more than two. Those teams will compete against one another.”
This could mean a lot of things. Will there be teams from the games like Team Rocket or Team Galaxy that you can join? Or will they have new teams for people to join? Or will people be able to make their own teams? Can teams share Pokémon and set up their own gyms?!
▼ The only thing any of us have to say at this point.
While we all want Pokémon Go to be out now, we still have a little bit of waiting to do. The game is scheduled for release in 2016, so that means less than a year wait, but still longer than a few minutes, which is slightly unbearable. To try to ease the pain though we’ll keep bringing you news about the game as it keeps coming, until the day when we can all become Pokémon masters together… on Team Rocket of course.