Pokémon GO Will Feature Gyms, Rare Pokémon And Trading Events

Since the announcement of Pokémon GO -- AKA Pokémon in real life -- fans have wanted to know more. Will we have to sail to the middle of the ocean if we want to catch a Kyogre? Will this game be about collecting badges like the mainstream Pokémon games? As it turns out, that will be a part of it -- though you're not likely to find a gym just down the road from your house.

John Hanke and Mike Quigley from Pokémon GO developer Niantic recently sat down for a chat with Venture Beat to answer some of our questions. Most excitingly, they confirmed that Pokémon gyms will be making an appearance in the world of Pokémon GO, as well as going into more detail about how Pokémon appearances will work. They also talked about their approach to making the game accessible and fun for all players, whether they live in a big city or a remote town. Thankfully, Niantic has a lot of experience in this area already thanks to the location-based game called Ingress that it currently runs.

Our goal is to make it so you can walk out of the house and within five minutes, you can find Pokémon. It may not be the most rare Pokémon in the world, but there’ll be a population of Pokémon living near all our players. Gyms will be a bit more rare. You want to find gyms so you can level up your Pokémon and battle there, so it will take a little more effort to get there. Pokémon will live in different parts of the world depending on what type of Pokémon they are. Water Pokémon will live near the water. It may be that certain Pokémon will only exist in certain parts of the world. Very rare Pokémon may exist in very few places. But you can trade. If you live in a place with lots of water Pokémon and you come to an event — we have these Ingress events that are getting bigger and bigger.

Pokémon Go Could Be Amazing (And Maybe A Bit Dangerous)

Trading has always been a huge part of Pokémon games, at least for the people who are serious about their goal to collect them all, and although Pokémon GO is not your average Pokémon game, Niantic are doing their best to make sure it still feels like one.

He [Nintendo programmer Junichi Masuda] advises us on game design for Pokémon and helps make sure that we keep true to the franchise, the history of all the handheld games they’ve done. They’re so excited about this as a new version of the game that’s never been done before. It’s not like it’s just another rev of the handheld game. This is a Pokémon experience that’s brand new, and yet it goes back to the very origin of the franchise. It’s about a kid who goes out in the world and finds Pokémon. If you strip away a lot of the complexity and stuff that’s been added on, it’s the most basic expression of that concept.

Although it is being made as a Pokémon game before anything else, Niantic is also putting their own unique flavour into it -- the emphasis on real world locations and experiences that led to them creating Ingress in the first place. Hanke shares more information on the social goals behind the game, and what players are likely to gain from it -- beyond just a collection of cute Pokémon:

The places that you’ll interact with in the real world — historical sites, artwork, prominent or special local businesses, those will play a role in Pokémon Go just as they would for us. That same mechanic of encouraging people to take a walk in the park and see some aspect of their city they haven’t seen before, to go explore a nook or cranny in a part of the city they haven’t been to before so they can get a new Pokémon, that will be at work. Measuring how far people have walked and all of that will have specific payoffs for players in Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go Could Be Amazing (And Maybe A Bit Dangerous)

There's also good news for those people wanting to be a part of a real-world Team Rocket -- Hanke says that rival teams are definitely going to be a part of the world of Pokemon GO, just like Ingress's two overarching teams. "There will be teams to join in Pokémon, more than two. Those teams will compete against one another."

Fan reactions so far have suggested that Pokémon GO could end up becoming a pretty major thing, and Niantic is expecting no less from the most hardcore fans of the game. "You can’t get all of them by yourself. If you want all of them you’ll have to trade with other players. Or you have to be someone who takes time off work and travels the world for a year. There may be people who do that."

[Venture Beat via Gamnesia]


Comments

    The more I read on this: the more like at 12 year old I feel waiting for this game

      Lmao, me too. And I'm still excited for it.

      Edit: Anyone know the release date for it anyway?

      Last edited 21/12/15 2:08 pm

        All we know is that it's coming out in 2016. They're still developing the hardware, let alone the software, so it could be any time.

      I've never played a Pokémon title but this one has me excited to give it a go, especially with my 7yo son. I can picture us going on road trips or walks finding stuff and that's as good of an excuse as any to hang out with my kid.

        Nah, it's giving my kid a reason to hang out WITH ME! :)

        I've played Ingress for a long time, their previous game and have gone on road trips and camping tips purely for the purpose of the game. Good fun.

    If I were a business owner (say like a cafe) I'd try and buy exclusive rights to a Poke'mon so if people wanted it they would have to visit my cafe. advertising at it's best. I wonder if they'll take this approach should the opportunity arise.

      That would positively ruin this game.

        $100 Ebgames already has exclusivity for event Pokemons and shit just like they do for the Ds stuff

        I could see gamestop buying rights to certain pokemon at their locations just to get people to go there. Best buy as well. It wouldn't be much different than the wifi spots they had at those locations for exclusive content. It shouldn't ruin the game as long as it's not place you have to pay to get in, like a movie theater or disneyland.

      In Ingress the game revolves around portals. Some businesses have deals for portals to be at all their locations - Jamba Juice in the US, some convenience store in Japan.

      I think a better way it would work is that you can interact with these locations in the game some way and get useful items, maybe at a slightly higher rate than other locations.

    You know what? Travelling the world in search of catching them all sounds like the greatest ARG of all time.

    Hopefully the servers for this game don't end up like the Ingress servers. Pretty sure when Niantic took their leave from Google, they reduced the amount of servers in use for Ingress, along with things like the in-game alerts to reduce server load. :(

    Game is slightly crappier these days

    I HATE Ingress, its does NOT tell you anything about these "special" locations. Some of them can be as stupid as a bus stop. Literally a bus stop, but it doesn't give you ANY information about "oh well this was designed by so and so for whoever in this year". The whole blue vs. green is annoying and I've seen people actually call the cops on the other team for "stealing portals". I pray to the gods GO does not go down that road.

      That is because they don't have enough money to send thousands of people out to every corner of the globe with tour guides with information on everything.
      If a portal is shitty it's because the person who submitted it was a tool and the people that approve portals occasionally let a bad one through. Bound to happen if you are doing that for days on end. I've heard numbers like there are 5 million portals submitted or something crazy.

      Without blue vs green the game wouldn't actually work, it would be boring as hell sitting at home hitting recharge. If people are calling the cops on people for playing a game the cops can tell them to F off. I can wander around at night in public places freely if I wish to. Everytime I have been approached by police while playing I've been fine with the exception of the AFP when I went to the airport a bit late. They let us continue on and get the portal but told us to be quick then leave.

    I wonder how spread out the pokemon will be. Will places like Australia real have all that many unique places to visit and unique pokemon?

      Hobart, the smallest capital city in Australia is swamped with Ingress portals. All the little towns have them as well. I wouldn't worry about it too much unless you live in a town with only one or two actual streets.

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