Pokemon games on smartphones isn’t exactly unheard of these days with three spin-off games Pokemon TCG Online, Camp Pokemon and Pokemon Shuffle already available alongside a number of other apps that focus on the franchise. However, the newly announced Pokemon GO! Seems to be the most ambitious project for iOS and Android devices.
The game seems to be an augmented reality based Pokemon title, taking elements of the Google Maps and The Pokemon Company collaboration done as an April Fools promotional event last year and expanding on it. Players are able to locate Pokemon in real world environments using their smart phone to track down and see the curious creatures. Much like the main games, players seem to have to battle wild Pokemon and weaken them in order to be able to catch them with a Pokeball. Once caught, players can train up their Pokemon and then battle and trade them with other players. Unlike the main Pokemon games, it also seems that players will be able to team up and battle Pokemon in quite large numbers. For example, the trailer shows a large crowd of people teaming up and sending in all their Pokemon to fight a Mewtwo, and after successfully defeating it they are all notified on their phones that they have caught the elusive monster.
Additionally, via press release, The Pokemon Company announced a separate device called the Pokemon GO Plus being developed and manufactured by Nintendo that players can wear on an arm band. It connects to a phone via bluetooth and will light up and vibrate when a Pokemon is nearby.
Pokemon Go! is being co-developed by Niantic Inc (a company founded by Google Earth co-creator John Hanke as a start-up within Google), The Pokemon Company and Nintendo. Most notably, co-creator and game director on the Pokemon serie Junichi Masuda (who makes a cameo in the trailer) is directly contributing to the game’s development.
Pokemon fans have until sometime in 2016 to make sure they have phone with an extra long battery life to play Pokemon GO! and catch’em all.