The Pokémon Company announced a new smartphone title called Pokémon Go during their NicoNico Livesteam to discuss future business plans and new partnerships.
Niantic Labs, an internal startup at Google, will be the developers for the game, as they’ve recently become an independent company called Niantic, Inc., and will work together with The Pokémon Company in the development of the game. Nintendo will also work together with the other two companies in this project.
While thinking of new ideas for future Pokémon games, CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara explains that he got to check out Ingress by Niantic Labs, and got some great ideas on what they could do with Pokémon, and from there, the partnership began.
Niantic Labs founder John Hanke says that this project is a vision that was also shared by the late Satoru Iwata, and they’re looking forward to pushing forward with it. Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda will also help out with the designs and music for Pokémon Go.
For the first time, Pokémon will roam free in the real world. Players will catch Pokémon in various places such as shopping malls, parks, and various other places. For example, you might find a Squirtle hiding by the waters in San Francisco, or a Bulbasaur by the Eiffel Tower, perhaps even a Pikachu in Shinjuku.
The game uses location-based technology to show players where there are nearby Pokémon. There will be capturing, trading, and battles in the game.
Additionally, they shared a look at the “Pokémon Go Plus, which basically notifies players when Pokémon are nearby, so you can catch them. The idea comes from Nintendo wanting to make something that can prevent people from walking around being too fixated on their smartphones without watching their surroundings.
It has a vibration and also LED lights to notify players, and will sync with your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can use the device as a clip or have it on your wrist like a bracelet or watch. The Pokémon Go Plus device won’t be a requirement to play the game, but Nintendo and Niantic recommend it.
Pokémon Go will release in 2016 for Android and iPhone. The game will be free-to-play, and will likely have micro-transactions, which have yet to be announced.