Earlier this week, we got a glimpse at what the gameplay in Pokemon GO would look like, but the leaked video was far from official quality and didn’t really give us a very good feel for what the game could be. Now Niantic Labs is giving us the first official look at this highly anticipated mobile game that brings the Pokemon universe to the mobile market in a serious way for the very first time.
For those somehow not in the know, Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game that puts a Pokemon-strewn overlay between the user and the real world. You can hunt down your favorite Pokemon in the wild by actually walking around and searching through unexplored territory. This “Real World Gaming” platform follows in the footsteps of Ingress, but looks to be much more user-friendly and less esoteric. Interestingly, the developers are placing value on the game’s intrinsic gameplay mechanics which encourage players to get outside and move around. Also, the game promotes travel and exploration since some Pokemon will only spawn in certain parts of the world. Water type Pokemon, for instance, will only appear near lakes or oceans.
Eggs and other items such as Pokeballs can be acquired at physical locations called PokeStops. These will be situated in interesting locations like art installations, so this isn’t a game that you can just sit around and play in your living room. Battles will occur between players in the wild, and Gyms will be developed in an area-control system that seems fairly similar to Ingress. Early beta testing of the game is slated to take place in Japan sometime in the near future, and the game has an ambiguous release date of “2016.”
Regardless of when exactly it comes out, Pokemon GO is being built up to be either one of the biggest mobile gaming experiences of all time or the biggest gaming disappointment of all time. It will be free to play, so how exactly in-app purchases are handled will determine whether or not the game is a bang or a bust for many players. While we wait for this AR experience to arrive, let us know what you think of the game in the comments below!