Pokemon Go GamePlay
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As The Pokémon Company, Nintendo and AR developer Niantic join forces to create Nintendo’s forthcoming strategy app for smartphones, we take a look at the possible gameplay features that will be introduced for all to be involved in.
The game sounds amazing. It’s an AR experience that will direct players to various locations near them, or far away, where they’ll discover Pokémon in the “real world” that can be captured with the Go app. And, much like handheld games, wandering around might run you smack into another trainer who wants to battle. There also appear to be “public events,” as it were, where players can all team up to take down a particularly monstrous foe; a large-scale battle with Mewtwo in Times Square is the showcased example
1. Pokemon GO Gameplay Expectations
This all feels a bit too good to be true for me, as I’m having flashbacks to when I was a kid and I was hearing about a pair of awesome new Pokémon games for the N64. I thought at last, the time had come for a fully 3D Pokemon experience, but instead I got an incredibly limited battle sim in the form of Pokémon Stadium, and an on-the-rails picture-taking experience with Pokémon Snap. Those games may have their nostalgic appeal at this point, but my ten year-old self was definitely thinking at the time “this is not what I was expecting.”
I’m not saying not to be optimistic, and the concept behindPokémon Go looks cool. But here are a few grains of salt I’m worried about based on the announcement today.
The problem already I can see with the live-action trailer for the game is that it’s created expectations that are impossibly high for Pokémon Go. While many will realize that a holographic Mewtwo will not be zooming around their heads, or Gyarados will not erupt from the water and spray them as it wrestles away control of a bridge from Snorlax, my ten year-old self certainly would havehoped that was what the game was going to be like.
But with a blockbuster trailer like that, it almost reminds me of those Game of War ads where Kate Upton is fighting CGI dragons with an army of soldiers at her back. Yet when you get into the game itself, it’s a worse-looking, worse-playing version of Age of Empires.
Not that Nintendo would make a game that poor, but I’m just worried that the reality of the final product is going to be dramatically disconnected from the wild fantasies shown in a trailer like this. The game may in and of itself be great, but previewing it like this with almost no in-game footage is setting fans up for disappointment already, in many ways.
2. Pokemon GO Gameplay – these are literally the only two screenshots of the game so far
Yup, that’s it. I watched a full 34 minute press conference about Pokémon Go, and the only significant bits of footage shown from the game itself were the two Pokémon above being captured on Android and iOS devices respectively. They sit there placidly, a ball plops them on the head, and voila, they’re captured. That’s it.
Even if this is still early in development, it seems weird to me that so little actual footage of the game is able to be shown. The big release is the live-action trailer, and that might show a flash of what the game could look like, but again, it’s 99% special effects meant to convey the “feel” and “idea” of the game, rather than the reality of the game itself.
What will battling really look like? How exactly will this interact with the normal game? How will Pokémon actually look blended in with real world environments? Do they actually blend in with real world environments and use the camera at all? Perhaps all these questions can be easily answered, but so far in this debut, we’re meant to just hear a lot of people talk about how cool the game will be, and believe that some of the magic of the big-budget trailer will translate into the game. I’m sorry, but without seeing a hell of lot more of the game itself, I have to remain skeptical.
3. Pokemon GO Gameplay – AR is not exactly a revolution yet
Pokémon Go will be one of the highest profile AR phone game releases ever, if notthe highest profile one. And as most people in tech will know, going first can sometimes be a problem. While they are working with Niantic, who developed with AR game Ingress within Google GOOGL -1.66%, translating all of that to Pokémon is going to be an exceptional amount of work.
Both AR and VR are lurking on the horizon in the form of face-hugging goggles from all the big tech companies, and though AR phone games are a reality already, it’s a different story.. Many do exist, but the genre has hardly taken the mobile world by storm at this point. While it’s possible Pokémon Go will be the best and brightest example of one such game when it debuts, it also seems risky to be out when the tech is still pretty far from proven.
In the end, I’m still excited. That ten-year-old in me is looking at this wide-eyed, as the answer to his Pokémon related dreams in many ways, exploring the real world looking for monsters to catch. And yet I’ve been burned by the supposed “evolution” of Pokémon before, and I’m still waiting for even an open world Pokémon RPG, which has never come to a console. Here, Nintendo is skipping straight into real life itself, and I’m just a little worried about high expectations and the final reality of the product, based on the tech and Nintendo’s own history.
Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing more, and if I have to plan a trip to NYC to catch my Mewtwo, so be it.