It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for since we were kids: catching and battling Pokémon in real life. Unveiled today by The Pokémon Company, Pokémon Go is an ambitious game promises the ability to find and catch Pokémon in the real world through your smartphone.
The game is currently in development by The Pokémon Company and Niantic, originally established as an internal startup by Google that is now its own division. Niantic is best known for its AR and location-based games like Ingress and Field Trip. The idea of the game is for players to explore the world (or their neighborhood) and capture Pokémon. How? A wristwatch-like accessory called the Pokémon Go Plus that pairs with your smartphone, and the location-based gaming platform to enable players to catch Pokémon.
According to reports, it works with the game to let you “throw” Pokéballs with the press of a button (or the throwing motion, hopefully). It also includes a rumble and flash feature to alert you when you run into Pokémon in the real world, along with nearby events, or other Trainers.
You can see the debut trailer below (which included a dedication to Satoru Iwata), released today at a Pokémon Company press conference:
Where previous iterations of the game have required some focus to your console, the idea for Pokémon Go is to allow you to enjoy the real world, and still be able to enjoy the game. According to designer Junichi Masuda: Go may not be a stand-alone title, and may eventually be connected to the series as a whole.
I confess I squee’d when I saw the trailer, as it presents a way to play for people who know what the franchise is, but can’t commit to playing long hours of the game. Fans may remember the Pokémon Challenge – Google’s April Fools’ prank from last year – which sent fans old and new in search of Pokémon that cropped up in locations all across the globe using Google Maps.
The gameplay appears to the console versions: you’ll be able to catch and trade Pokémon, and there’s battling. The thing about Pokémon Go that might send people into a frenzy is what looks like a timed, raid-style battle against Legendary Pokémon, with the reward of said Pokémon being added to every participant’s team.
Few other details have been released, but with the 2015 Tokyo Game Show just a week away, we may just see more information released soon. As of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, there are now 721 Pokémon – a far cry from the original 150 when the first games in the series came out 19 years ago.
Pokémon Go is slated for release in 2016 for iOS and Android.