Nintendo wowed attendees at a Tokyo press conference on Tuesday, announcing a staggering slew of Pokémon games for the Nintendo Switch portable-yet-dockable console. Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee are two upcoming games, set for launch in November, that take inspiration from Pokémon GO and the original Pokémon Yellow Game Boy game from 1998.
The games were announced as part of a big push for Pokémon on Nintendo’s newest console, which launched last March to great fanfare. Pokémon Quest is a “free-to-start” game that launched immediately for Switch with an iOS and Android release in late June, a base-building game that features stylized versions of familiar characters. The next release will be Let’s Go, with a more traditional Pokémon game that plays more like the original versions launching in the second half of 2019.
Here’s what you need to know about Pikachu’s next outing:
Features and Details
The game is inspired by Pokémon Yellow, a variation on the original Pokémon Red and Blue that turned a generation of children onto Game Boys and Saturday morning adventures with Brock and Misty. Pokémon Yellow sought to closer emulate the storyline of the anime by having players start with a Pikachu that follows them around, instead of choosing one of three starter Pokémon in Professor Oak’s lab. Depending on the game variation, a Pikachu will follow players around in Let’s Go Pikachu and an Eevee in Let’s Go Eevee — and Nintendo marketing literature also references “some differences in the species of Pokémon that you encounter and the rate at which you encounter them” depending on the game.
Players use the single-handed Joy Con controller to interact with the game. In a similar vein to the Pokémon GO smartphone games, players use the Joy Con to throw Poké balls at creatures to catch them either through a button press or a wrist flick. The game also allows for family and friends to pick up the second Joy Con and help out, throwing Poké balls at the same time or helping out in battles.
In the post-presentation question-and-answer session, Bloomberg reporter Yuji Nakamura shared more details about the game:
- The game will feature the standard 151 Pokémon from the first generation. That covers big names like Eevee, Pikachu, Psyduck, Bulbasaur and more. It also includes the alternate Alolan forms of these creatures introduced in Sun and Moon and found in Pokémon GO.
- A new Pokémon, never before seen, will also appear.
- While there will be no wild Pokémon battles, you can battle other trainers.
- The game will have no online features. Unlike Pokémon GO, the game also won’t require a constant internet connection to play.
- The pair of games will be more focused on home gaming, with next year’s release focused on handheld elements.
Pokémon GO Support
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Pikachu and Eevee is its integration with Pokémon GO, the free smartphone game that launched to such fanfare in July 2016 that it broke servers, set new install base records, and started a cultural movement. Niantic’s location-based game was a huge winner.
While Pikachu and Eevee take some clear inspiration in terms of gameplay from its predecessor, the update also offers some connectivity between the two games.Players can transfer Pokémon captured in the Kanto region (the ones from that original roster of 151) from their phone to the Switch. The trailer makes reference to a “GO Park” that seems to house transferred Pokémon.
In the announcement press release, Nintendo also teased “something special…coming to the world of Pokémon GO, making the connection between both games even more appealing for Trainers.” Details on this are set to be announced “in the near future.”
Nintendo also announced the release of a Poké ball-shaped controller. The Poké Ball Plus can replace the Joy Con. It uses motion controls, lights up, and the top works as an analog stick. Catching a Pokémon causes it to vibrate in the ball, and it can even play the sound of the caught Pokémon.
The ball can house Pokémon even while the game is off and you’re walking around in the real world. The peripheral can also replace the Pokémon GO Plus accessory used for the smartphone game.