Developers release new details about Pokémon gyms and team play.
It’s just about time for the initial field test of Pokémon GO, the first smartphone game in the franchise that allows players to catch Pocket Monsters through its augmented reality system. The fact that the game’s development has reached that stage means that its play mechanics are starting to take form, and the Pokémon Company and collaborative partner Niantic have revealed a new batch of details about what gamers can expect in the finished title.
As they make their way through the real world, players can check the game’s map on their smartphone. If there’s a wild Pokémon in the area, it’ll appear on the screen.
▼ The zoomed-in view suggests that players will also choose an avatar for themselves, like they do in recent Pokémon video game installments.
Once you’re close enough, the view switches to an encounter screen, in which the target Pokémon is overlaid on top of the image from your phone’s camera.
▼ This just made the day of 32.5 percent of Pokémon players.
Line up your shot, tap the Poké Ball icon at the bottom of the screen, and you’ll toss one of the high-tech orbs at creature in an attempt to capture it. As your roster of adorable fighting beasts grow, so too will your level as a Pokémon Trainer, which improves your ability to catch more powerful species. Catching enough of the same species will also allow it to progress to its evolved form.
But experience isn’t the only way to put the odds in your favor. Players will also be able to make use of PokéStops, locations where they can collect additional Poké Ball and other items. It’s not clear whether upgraded gear will require additional payments, but the developers have said that PokéStops will be located at real-world points of interest such as museums, public art installations, and historical monuments. Whether this decision will encourage players to also appreciate their non-Pokémon-related surroundings, or simply make other visitors irritated at all the people staring at their phones instead of paying attention to the paintings and sculptures around them is yet to be seen.
PokéStops are also where players can get Pokémon eggs, and just like their counterparts in previous games in the series, they only hatch after you’ve walked a certain number of steps. So yes, Pokémon GO lets you multi-task playing video games and getting some light exercise.
Finally, once players make enough progress in the game, they’ll be presented a choice between three teams to join. Teams can lay claim to vacant gyms, which like PokéStops also share GPS coordinates with real-world places of interest, by placing their captured Pokémon inside. Once a team has control of a gym, only other trainers with the same affiliation can freely lodge their Pocket Monsters there, but other teams have the option to battle against its inhabitants, with the winner taking over ownership.
Sadly, even with all these features, Pokémon GO still doesn’t have a firm release date. Still, with playtesting starting this month, the big day is getting closer, and in the meantime, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that RocketNews24 headquarters is famous enough to be designated a Pokémon gym location.
Will RocketNews24 become a Pokémon gym? Follow Casey on Twitter for further developments.