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Pokémon GO's features officially announced

The Pokemon Company finally releases some information on Pokémon GO, as well as some early gameplay images

The Pokémon Company and Niantic Inc. have just gone public today with news on the upcoming release of Pokémon GO. While little information has been released up until this point about the mobile game, we now know a select few details about what the actual gameplay will now be like. Note that the game is still in the user test phase, and the images and details stated here may not reflect the final game. With that said, let's dig in!

According to the official press release, Pokémon GO will have players around the globe exploring their surroundings to find and catch wild Pokémon hiding among us. True to in-game lore, certain Pokémon will only appear in the environments you would expect to find them in. Water-types will be found near lakes and oceans, while grass types will likely be found in parks and forests. If a Pokémon is nearby, the phone will vibrate to let players know that a wild Pokémon has appeared. Once the encounter begins, players can throw Poke Balls by using the phone's touch screen. Poke Balls and other items can be found at PokeStops found at local landmarks such as art museums, historical sites, and monuments.

Pokémon GO's map looks similar to that of Google Maps, except littered with icons that display Pokémon whereabouts, trainers, and more!

As players catch more Pokémon, their Trainer Level will increase. This allows players to catch stronger Pokémon as well as access more in-game items. That's not the only way to attain higher leveled or evolved Pokémon, however, as catching the same Pokémon multiple times will result in the ability to evolve them. PokeStops can also be used to get Pokémon Eggs which will hatch after walking a certain distance.

This player is lucky enough to find a wild Squirtle!

While some anxious players were put off by the Augmented Reality video leaked earlier this month, they can rest assured that the game does feature the ability to use a pre-rendered background as well (seen below).

For players put off by the animation quality of Augmented Reality games (right), you can use a pre-rendered background that resembles those of the 3DS Pokémon games instead (left).

Other features included in Pokémon GO include the ability to join up with one of three Pokémon teams. Once you join one of these teams, you will be able to assign a Pokémon you have caught to an empty Pokémon Gym location or to a location where one of your team members has placed their own Pokémon. These Gyms are found in real world locations - similar to the PokeStops - and since you can only place one Pokémon at a time, players are encouraged to work together to build up an undefeatable team.

Players can also engage an opposing team's Pokémon Gym with their own captured Pokémon. Doing so will allow the player to have a chance at claiming control of the opponent's Gym for their own team.

The early field test is currently limited to Japan only while the game continues development. A portable Pokémon GO Plus device (above) is also in the works that will allow players to interact with the game without pulling out their smartphone via Bluetooth. As for the price of the base software, Pokémon GO will be available on the App Store and Google Play for free, with in-app purchases also available.

You can visit the official Pokémon GO website for more details.

Published Mar. 24th 2016
  • Samuel Smith
    Featured Contributor
    Its getting closer!
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    The hype is real! :D
  • Jeffrey Rousseau
    Contributor
    This is awesome.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I'm not entirely sold on the game yet, but it certainly looks worth giving a chance, doesn't it? It'll finally give me a reason to use the GPS feature on my phone! Hahaha!
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    I'm hype, though I wish we would have more info on battling. It is kinda sad that the way you evolve is by catching them more repeatedly.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Game's still in beta/field test so anything's up for change in the future. All I'm hoping for is that there's a Ralts nest nearby. I want a Ralts as my starter Pokemon! :(

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