How Pokémon GO Will Work

How Pokémon GO Will Work

Since revealing Pokémon GO last year, Nintendo and developer Niantic have been pretty quiet about how exactly it will work. We knew that it would be a Pokémon game for your mobile, and that you would be able to capture pokémon in the world, but little else. Finally the studio behind the game has spilled some beans. This piece originally appeared 25 May 2016 on Kotaku UK.

There are more than 100 pokémon for you to catch in Pokémon GO and, depending on your location, different types of pokémon will appear. If you're taking a trip to the beach then you will likely see water pokémon, head into the woods and you'll find grass types. I guess that means for fire types you'll need to visit your local active volcano?

When a pokémon is nearby your phone will vibrate. You can throw a pokéball at the creature by aiming your screen at the pokémon and swiping a pokéball in its direction. It sounds like you won't battle wild pokémon to weaken them first, as you do in standard pokémon games. Maybe the developers realised that if you're on the way to work when your phone vibrates to tell you there is a pokémon nearby you may well not have time to have a battle.

As there won't be battling, at least in the traditional sense, your pokémon no longer level up. Instead you need to raise your trainer level. The game's website is a little vague when it comes to raising your level, it says "Keep exploring and encountering Pokémon to raise your level." So will it be be down to walking a certain number of steps, or to the number of pokémon in your pokédex, or maybe even going for walks in new places?

We already know, for instance, that you'll find pokémon eggs which will hatch after walking a certain distance.

Evolving your pokémon also happens differently to the way you would do it in the other games. Instead of levelling up a pokémon until it evolves, you evolve one by catching more pokémon of the same type. Eventually one of them will change into the next stage of its evolution.

There are opportunities to battle in the game, even if they're not with wild pokémon. Early in the game you will be invited to join one of three teams. These teams are able to take control of gyms, which are located in real places around the world. You can help out your gym by leaving your pokémon there as guards, ready to fight anyone from rival teams who wants to challenge your ownership of the gym.

Pokémon battles are handled differently to the traditional games. It sounds like they will be built of quick time events:

By using their own Pokémon's attacks and dodging incoming attacks by swiping left and right on the screen, Pokémon GO players can defeat the defending Pokémon to reduce the Gym's Prestige. Once the Gym's Prestige reaches zero, the defending team loses control of the Gym, and the victor's Pokémon can be assigned to defend the Gym. When a team has control of a Gym, team members can increase its Prestige and level by training their Pokémon with other defending Pokémon. As the Gym gets to a higher level, the defending team gains the ability to assign more Pokémon to defend it. They can also team up with friends and battle together at a rival Gym to take down stronger Gyms faster.

As well as gyms, PokéStops, the game's shops, can be found in real world locations, places like "public art installations, historical markers, and monuments". I hope there are lots of them, because if you run out of pokéballs and have to physically go to the shop to get new ones it would be a kicker if the nearest virtual shop was 16km away.

Niantic also announced a Bluetooth add-on you can buy that will let you play the game without using your phone. The Pokémon GO Plus has a light and will vibrate when a pokémon is near and by pressing the button on its case you can throw a pokéball at it. I'm not sold on the plus. Being a Bluetooth device it will need to be near your phone anyway, a device that's pretty darn portable already. This sounds like an unnecessary extra.

How Pokémon GO Will Work

Pokémon GO will be a free game and it will make it cash by selling in-game cash. Apparently in-game money is used to buy power-ups and extra items but it doesn't say if that includes pokéballs. It will be a pain if I need to have to break out my wallet to buy pokéballs that may not definitely catch the pokémon you find.

I am fascinated by Pokémon GO. It sounds like a dream Pokémon game in many ways, but the details above have revealed it's not exactly translating the experience of a Pokémon game onto the phone.

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This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour from the British isles.


    Im actually looking forward to this, I like games that I dont have to invest 10,000 hours to have fun and since I cover a large distance every day for work I can see myself checking it out

    The pokestops are based on ingress portals. They are everywhere.
    Thousands of people are already playing the beta. You don't have to buy pokeballs.

    You are seriously fascinated by it but don't even acknowledge the game Ingress that came before it and paves the way? They already have points of interest markers harvested from that game. Millions all over the world. Tops of mountains, museums, bridges, art, all sorts.
    It gives a pretty clear idea on how some of it will work.

    Only 100 pokemon seems like a bit of a joke. Any reason why not the whole ∞?

    Kind of like the original Japan-only pokemon stadium.

      The article says over 100. In the field test, it seems to be the original 151. There's no reason they couldn't add more later.

    The more I found out about this the less I'm interested in it. Fighting wild pokemon and training the ones you capture is a very large part of pokemon. Searching for a rare wild with perfect stats and then working on that pokemon to train it into a perfect fighting machine is what it's all about. Catching 10-20 caterpies so I can evolve it into a metapod...meh.

    Last edited 27/05/16 8:51 am

      yeah it's puts me off too. i like the initial idea a lot, now it just sounds like it'll make you travel all over the place and do boring things to progress.

        The whole point of these style of games is to go out and explore the space around you. I've discovered parts of my city I've never been to, parks I didn't know existed. Climbed mountains, road trips, all sorts of great stuff.

          Nah, the point of this for me would be to have an integrated environment pokemon training/fighting game. Exploring would be a side aspect of it that would just happen along with the game. If I wanted to explore for the sake of it then I'd go explore...not play a pokemon game.

            The point of it (by the people that are making it) is to go out and explore. They have publicly stated this.
            That's the whole reason why pokestops are spread out all over the place. Gyms will be even rarer, and you are encouraged to visit them. Again, there will most likely be events - check out the mewtwo even in the trailer. These will probably encourage even further travel.
            In the previous game, people would fly to events like this.

              Yeah, that's the point of it to them...although the real point for them is to make money.

              Like I said though to me the point is playing a pokemon game. Couldn't care less about whatever else they're trying to do.

              Then they're terrible businessmen, since no one has ever played a pokemon game to explore the real world.

                Have you ever bought anything? Did you buy it to enrich the company that produced the goods? Probably not. However it still did.

    Sweet. I'm gonna quit my day job, become a full time Pokemon trainer, live off the money I earn in Pokemon battles, it's smooth sailing from here on out.

    I mean, that little kid, Joe, across the street, forks out $2,367 everytime I whoop his ass.

    I've been playing the Beta.. and I've already lost interest in the game.

    It gets old fast.

    You can travel all over the world and find Rattatas.

    Dear god that ad is HORRIBLE.... SO CHEESY!

    So basically the core experience of the Pokémon games is not there in any way. That's disappointing. Here I thought they were interested in making money.

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