Just recently some stealthy off-screen footage emerged of Pokémon Go, the hotly anticipated AR (augmented reality) smartphone app being developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo. It looked pretty much as expected, with the demonstration showing a stylised Google Maps style overworld and a capture sequence in which you point your phone at grass to capture a grass-type, for example, which is an integral part of the experience.
The Pokémon Company has now published a lot of intriguing information on how the game will work. First of all, let's gawk at some screens.
In terms of the details there are a lot of them, so below is our snappy summary of the key points; you can head to the official page for the full text.
Explore the world - The key goal is to move around the world and keep an eye out for Pokémon; as you move around your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you're near a Pokémon. Once you've encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone's touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it.
PokéStops - Look for PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments, where you can collect more Poké Balls and other items.
Level Up - You level up as you collect more Pokémon, enabling you to target more powerful pocket monsters and access items such as Great Balls.
Evolve and catch new Pokémon - There are other ways to add Pokémon to your roster, too. If you catch the same species of Pokémon enough times, you'll get the opportunity to evolve one of them. And as you explore, you may find Pokémon Eggs at PokéStops, which will hatch after you've walked a certain distance. When they hatch, you may find Pokémon you've never seen before!
Join a Team - 'At a certain point' you choose between three teams. As part of a team you can assign one Pokémon to a real-world location that is a 'Gym' in order to defend it. The idea is that you work with others in your team to set up strong defensive units.
Attack rival gyms - If you come across a gym held by a rival team you can use your Pokémon to attack it and try to take over.
Challenges - There'll be various challenges to tackle which unlock 'achievement medals' for your profile.
Pokémon Go Plus - The previously revealed wrist-strap (above) will be called Pokémon Go Plus. This connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and allows you to do some things without your phone. A combination of an LED and vibration will let you know when 'mon are nearby and even allow you to catch them.
That's the lot, painting a relatively full picture of the app. It's reiterated that there's a field test on the way in Japan, with no further release details given.
Do you like the sound of Pokémon Go so far? Let us know.
Hype!! As I said in my video, from what we've seen of the demonstration, it's still a long way off in terms of polishing the AR mechanic. But I'm willing to wait!
All these Nintendo apps may be the only thing I regret about having a Windows phone.
I thought it was mentioned that Windows 10 phones will be able to run Android OS?
@Splatburst I think they actually said they would make it super easy for developers to move their code from Android and iOS to Windows. They even have an app that automatically compiles it for you. But at that point it's up to a developer to do that and submit the app to the Windows store.
3 Teams... Red, Blue, Green??? Or Team Rocket could be one of them lol
@Spin I have heard testing and developing for Windows Phones is not fun. Most apps skip it and the ones that don't, Microsoft normally pays to get a port. Maybe they will make things easier in the future and maybe Pokemon Go will be a big enough success to get a Windows version, but it seems unlikely. I know my brother recently switched to Android from Windows because of Pokemon Go lol
Sounds good with the whole defend a gym thingy. Adds a new dynamic you don't have in the main games. Will be buying the go plus regardless. Probably one for me and my son. Too hyped for this.
It's basically just Ingress with a Pokemon skin and catching element. Much less ambitious than the trailer leads people to believe, but it'll be a cute little time waster for plenty of fans.
This is going to break the world.
I don't know, I don't like the sound of not having battles with wild Pokemon and, maybe I'm asking for too much on an overlay of Google Maps but, it all looks a bit cheap. They should maybe automate more of the 'AR' animations and perhaps go for an art style that doesn't feel quite as superimposed (again, I realise I'm asking for a lot here), maybe saturate the RL colours on the camera to make it look a little brighter and Pokemon-ish?
I'm not convinced at all but I suppose the upshot of having my hype killed is that when we know more, my low expectations can hopefully be exceeded!
Despite the above I will get it and give it a proper go first. How much more development time are they planning?
Will you miss out if you don't do any real life travel? I can't really go anywhere so it would suck to miss out because I can't travel to national monuments or art instalations. I'm still excited to see the end product but I just wonder if it'll be a fit for my lifestyle.
i don't really go many places other than to go shopping so I don't think I will be downloading this game for myself
No traditional battling = I don't care. Not my cup of tea, sorry.
Looks pretty much how I expected, nothing too grand like a full game but it looks fun and a little bit of Pokémon themed goodness, despite probably being pretty shallow overall
Honestly, I think this looks totally meh and underwhelming. Even the character models look a bit off, and that's usually something the Pokemon guys are pretty good with. It feels like what it, a cheap cash-grab that's been handed off to some third party developer.
The fact that you join a team and contest a real life location makes it seem a lot like their previous game, Ingress. Which is not a complaint, because Ingress is great!
@Spin You and me both...
I would love to try this out and it seems ingress would be a good way, but would it be worth getting into now?
@DefHalan Actually Windows 10 Mobile got a lot of good updates to the back end code. It allows for easy migration from Android or iOS apps to Windows apps too.
Meh. I was pretty excited but they changed the mechanics so heavily, I don't know now...
It's not quite what I was expecting, but I can understand not having the traditional battle system. This is a game for playing on the go. Most of the time, I doubt most people will be in a position to play out a full battle in order to catch the many Pokemon they will likely find on their daily travels.
Glad the map has color! I was a little worried when the map was all white on the leaked footage.
I would have preferred automatic battles and choosing to stop it when you feel its ready to catch at the very least and the evolution part doesnt feel right.
Rest of it seems pretty neat though, I like the map alot
@teamshortcut @Spin: Add me to that list, lol. I love my Windows Phone (it coordinates well with my Windows PC at work), but I am starting to miss out on some cool apps.
Pokemon GO is definitely borrowing elements from Ingress, but it's something I'm still interested in.
@Kirk That's because Gamefreak isn't making this. It was literally handed off to a third party developer. I wouldn't say it looks like a cheap cash grab, it most likely cost a lot of money and time to make, but you're right about it not following the design philosophy that the actual Pokemon development team follows.
This doesn't feel very "Pokemon". The whole point of Pokemon is to battle, trade, and get stronger with animal-friends that you meet. What's the point of catching them if you can't evolve them naturally? Why should I have to catch multiples of the same Pokemon to evolve it when those other ones will go unloved? Where's the focus on creating bonds and friendships with the Pokemon you catch? This spits all over what Pokemon is about.
Oh, come on! Put battles in the code as well! Otherwise, this is not Pokémon. I wanna battle wild Pokémon and real people through AR. Imagine this: Two people fighting through AR watching the same thing over their phones' camera; and a third person can watch as well through the app pointing its camera to the same location the trainers are fighting. How cool would that be?
No standard battles then?
I think it's a missed opportunity.
I'm not sure why everyone was expecting a traditional Pokemon experience. I mean, sure, battles would be cool, but with how much work they have to do with AR and real-world integration, plus it being free-to-play (right?), I don't see battles being a thing any time soon. Too much work. Although, battles would make a cool update, or maybe when they make a sequel they could add them.
I hope this game will work on lower-end smartphones.
This is closer to Ingress than I was hoping...Seems to be focused around defending port-uh I mean gyms and not on training and establishing bonds with your Pokemon.
Next update to include an AI-powered Xerneas on the loose in the wild. Now that would be a real battle.
I never quite got why the haven't made the wrist-strap a round Pokéball, without the weird 'dripping' underside. Dunno which other Pokémon gadget also looked like that, but I remember seeing it before and back then also thinking it looked weird.
Sounds so cool!! Unfortunately I do not have a smart phone, and probably wo t be getting one anytime soon, as my current data plan is a bit congested at the moment. Maybe when a few of my older siblings move out, haha.
Okay this actually all sounds really cool.
Loads of potential. Good to see it coming along nicely.
This kind of stuff is absolutely not my thing, but I gotta admit I can see this being a huge hit.
@Monkeh It is shaped like that because that is how GPS icons are shaped lol
I mean I didn't expect traditional battles but you should at least be able to fight the Pokemon you're catching. It just makes me think this game is more of a showcase on what you have. But I'm still very excited. I look forward to it
So basicly they're gonna release pokemon themed ingress! Yaaaaay! Thats awesome! Can't wait to try em out!
Btw... when are they gonna give us more detail about pokemon go gameplay? I cant wait to meet, chat, trade, and BATTLE ppl around the world... oh wait... this was the pokemon go update...? ..... okay.... =_="
No battles. Lame.
What's the point in catching, evolving and trading 'Mon if they don't do anything? Even the TCG, which a lot of people collect for the heck of it, has a battle system. At this point, even a very simplified RPG would be a lot more fun than throwing balls around.
I get that the main focus of the game is to catch Pokemon and travel the world... but wouldn't that be emphasized by battles? If the things you collected weren't useless, and it felt like you were on an actual Pokemon journey? Who hasn't wanted to do that?
That trailer was way too hype for it's own good. And the lack of Gen 2-6 Pokemon is not too promising either.
Just as i thought, ingress with a pokemon theme, would be to much to ask for them to add "proper" combat, and probably wouldnt work as well on the go.
So this is just Ingress....
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