Last Fall Niantic officially announced an upcoming augmented reality game based on the Pokemon franchise called Pokemon GO, in which players would take on the role of Pokemon trainers and would explore places in the real world to find and capture different types of Pokemon. There has been very little actual detail about the game up until recently, when gameplay footage that was shown off at the SXSW conference surfaced on the web yesterday. Yesterday’s footage is met with new details of the game straight from Niantic describing specifics about the gameplay and features, and alongside those details they have released a handful of screenshots which show off what the game will look like.
Niantic states that while the game is planned for a global launch on Android and iOS devices sometime later this year, they do have a limited test planned for Japan at some point in the future before the game’s launch while it’s still actively being developed. Pokemon GO players will be able to explore any of their surroundings and all over the globe, but much like the original games, certain Pokemon can only be found within their native habitats, meaning that players may only be able to find water-type Pokemon near a body of water.
As fans of the franchise would expect, players will use Pokeballs to capture Pokemon they discover in the real world by using the touchscreen interface on their smartphones, but it’s worth noting that players will only have a certain number of Pokeballs in their inventory and must find more at specially marked places such as monuments, historical markers and more, called Pokestops. These places will also sometimes contain items called Pokémon eggs which will only hatch after players have walked a specific distance within the game. As players progress they can level up their trainers as higher levels will be needed to catch Pokemon that are more powerful. There will also be a gym system in place, in which players will be asked to join one of three different teams and at occasionally they will have to engage in gym battles against other players from opposing teams. Niantic states that each player can only have one Pokemon placed in each gym, making it so that players will have to seek out other real-world locations where gyms can be found to store other Pokemon, as well as work together to defend the gyms they have claimed from the other teams.