Nintendo may not be officially partnering with Apple just yet, but that doesn’t mean the Japanese gaming giant can’t push into mobile gaming on their own. Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Ingress developers Niantic announced this morning that they are working together for a new augmented reality game based in the Pokmon franchise, Pokémon Go.
Planned for release in 2016 on Google Play and the App Store, the free game (with in-app purchasing) could be the definitive Pokémon game ever conceived.
Using GPS in smartphone devices, Pokémon Go will allow players to find Pokémon in the real world. Parks, beaches, bus stops, seedy alleys, gang territories, condemned housing, everywhere! And like in the Pokémon games, players will “catch” Pokémon and train them to fight, free of ethical ambiguity, or trade them with other players. You can bet these will be huge at Comic-Con.
Working in conjunction with the app is a Bluetooth-enabled, confusingly-titled “Pokémon Go Plus.” Wearable as either a pin or a wrist device, the Pokémon Go Plus pings when a Pokémon is nearby, so no one has to look at their phone all day when hunting for Charmanders.
The over-the-top trailer exaggerates what the game could realistically look like. Specifics like how exactly players will “train” their Pikachu into a pit fighter are unclear, and there’s a vague notion of “event” catching — a white whale like Mewtwo appearing at a set time and place attracting hundreds of players — could be a thing.
Although a promising augmented reality experience, there’re a lot of questions to consider. Like “How many dates will this ruin?” or “Will I see 30-year-olds at the bus stop throwing imaginary Pokeballs?” or “How will kids not chase after a Jigglypuff that is wandering around a nuclear test facility?” But with the Tokyo Game Show later this month, it shouldn’t be long until we know more.