In the second day of Nintendo presentations at E3, we got a second segment of Pokémon news. Here we got a Question and Answers panel dedicated entirely to the upcoming mobile phone title, Pokémon GO. Niantic developers, along with Masuda and Miyamoto (of The Pokémon Company/Game Freak and Nintendo respectively) featured in the panel. Also featuring were two Field Testers for the game (coincidentally large in the YouTube scene, e.g. ‘Cybertron‘, a popular VGC YouTuber).
- The game launches with only the first 150 Pokémon (from Red and Blue), but more will be added in updates.
- The add-on, Pokémon GO Plus, releases by the end of July. They state that it will be $34.99 in the US. The game (free to play) will be out by then as well! The app itself has no date however, but aims to be out before the Pokémon GO Plus device, which is slated for the end of July.
- Trading will be implemented some time after launch, but it is a confirmed feature not yet seen in Field Testing.
- The game will have future connectivity with ‘main games’.
- Junichi Masuda of Game Freak is the game’s composer.
They started off by discussing the reaction from the fans to the initial announcement of Pokémon GO and the Field Test process. They also thanked those who had helped give feedback to the Field Test. They then mentioned how they came up with the idea.
During Field Tests, it was mentioned that up to ’30 Poké Balls were thrown a second’. That’s a lot of catching! Miyamoto stated he was excited to talk about Pokémon GO.
Panel members not part of development next discussed their own experiences with the game, and shared a few images of Pokémon they encountered. This included images taken at E3.
Josh, one of the Field Testers who tried the game in San Francisco, asked about how you could encounter more Pokémon. He stated that he tended to see the ‘same 50’. The response included that they felt it was appropriate to begin with the first 150 Pokémon from the Red and Blue games. They will launch with the Red and Blue Pokémon, and then add more later on in updates.
It was also reiterated that you tend to find Water Pokémon near water, and so forth. Pokémon GO uses “location technology” to generate what Pokémon could appear where.
Aaron, who tested the game in New York, asked if some Pokémon would be harder to catch than others (besides the location-specific aspects). The response was “absolutely”. Pokémon in Pokémon GO will have unique behaviours, e.g. Abra teleporting away. It was stated that the focus on the game was the ‘catching of Pokémon’.
In catching Pokémon, you can control the strength and spin of the Poké Ball that you throw. If you time your throw so that a circle that appears over the target is sufficiently small once you throw it, you can increase your chance of catching the Pokémon. A demonstration of this was given.
They next moved to discussion of the music and sound effects in the game. Masuda, who is in charge of this aspect, discussed that he wanted to use ‘higher tempo’ music to help encourage people to ‘walk faster’ while playing Pokémon GO. Masuda has composed a lot of the music of the main Pokémon games.
Pokémon GO Plus was then showed off. Miyamoto talked about this device. It has a small light on it, which turns on (‘flashes green’) and vibrates when a Pokémon is nearby. This device saves you from checking your smartphone to see if a Pokémon is nearby when walking. This is to encourage players to look around when exploring rather than just looking at their phone, and also makes the game easier to play. This has been their “challenge and focus, and Pokémon GO Plus has been an answer to that”. If you successfully catch a Pokémon the Pokémon GO Plus will flash in rainbow colours, but an unsuccessful attempt will display a red light.
One panel member joked that while he uses the Pokémon GO Plus, as “it hasn’t released yet, he has to hide it in his pocket when I go out for a walk”. Josh remarks that he’s excited about Pokémon GO Plus helping him not have to make constant stops when out and about, and asks when we will get it. The response is (for Pokémon GO Plus!) “we want to get it out at the end of July”. The game should be out by then as well, presumably. Later they state that the Pokémon GO Plus add-on will be $34.99 in the US.
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) June 15, 2016
They state that this game will be typically played outside, so hence they had a new system of ‘Pokémon candies’ which can be used to “power up or evolve your Pokémon”. For example, when you catch a Squirtle, you may get 25 Pokémon candies, which can be used to help evolve it into Wartortle. “This is a feature we are still working on.”
The question of trading is raised. They state that trading will be implemented later when more players are using the game. “You bring out the core experience at the launch, and then add in more features later on to bring out more depth of the game.”
There may be more events involving teamwork in the full game, but the developers were mostly tight-lipped on the details of that. Gyms are a hint of other things to come. There are also plans for connectivity between Pokémon GO and ‘main titles’ down the track.
The panel was then thanked as the segment drew to a close. Closing messages included the confirmation that the game will come out before the Pokémon GO Plus add-on. “We will have to work hard to make sure that happens.” Some jokes were made about having to get straight to work after the panel! The specific launch date for Pokémon GO is yet to be announced, beyond that it will be before the end of July.
“Please look forward to the game”.
That concludes the panel! What did you make of that Q&A session?