A lot of talk has surrounded the highly anticipated mobile game “Pokémon GO.” From the excitement following its first announcement in 2015 to the disappointment of fans when it was rumored to be canceled, “Pokémon GO” is making headlines again.
Niantic Inc., a software development company in collaboration with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo, released a first glance of the “Pokémon GO” app on Thursday. According to Niantic’s website, “this platform combines mobile location technology and augmented reality to create a unique game experience that motivates players to go outside and explore the world around them.”
With this new game, players can navigate the real world and capture wild Pokémon with the aid of their smartphone. When the player’s phone vibrates, it’s signaling there is a Pokémon nearby. Then, all the player has to do is take out his phone and use the device to catch it.
“The really exciting part of the game is the real-world social aspect of it,” Niantic founder John Hanke said during the announcement of “Pokémon GO” in 2015. “Players meet up in the real world to play together, to go on adventures together and, about once a month, in cities all around the world, they come together for massive events that combine urban exploration, gameplay, and teamwork in a festival-like atmosphere.”
Each new encounter raises the player’s trainer level, enabling him to encounter more powerful Pokémon along his journey and have access to better equipment, such as Great Balls and achievement medals.
The location of certain Pokémon is dependent on its type. For example, a “water type” Pokémon will appear near bodies of water, such as lakes, streams and oceans.
PokéStops will also be available at certain locations, such as historical markers and monuments, where players can buy Poké Balls and find Pokémon Eggs, which players can hatch to find Pokémon not yet encountered.
During gameplay, players will be notified to join one of three teams in order to assign Pokémon to empty Pokémon Gyms or to areas where other team members put their Pokémon.
According to The Pokémon Company’s website, “like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world. Each player can place only one Pokémon at a particular Gym, so you're encouraged to work with others on the team to build up a strong defense.”
The Pokémon Company is also in production of Pokémon GO Plus, which is a portable device worn on the player’s wrist.
The device will connect to the user’s phone via Bluetooth and, with vibrations and LED lights, will notify players of what is happening in the game, such as the appearance of Pokémon. This product’s release date is currently unknown.
A field test for the game is in the works in Japan, with more information about its expansion to other countries on the way. Available languages, total features and overall design of the app are not yet final.
The app is set to premiere this year and will be available for free on both iPhone and Android devices, with in-app purchases available.