In a direct before E3, The Pokemon Company officially revealed their first two Pokemon games for the Nintendo Switch, “Pokemon: Let’s GO Pikachu!” and “Pokemon: Let’s GO Eevee!”
Taking inspiration from the wildly popular mobile game “Pokemon GO,” the titles will allow players to transfer their Pokemon back and forth across games. It also has several new changes to the traditional formula, including revamped HD visuals, local co-op, and changes to the wild battles that occur. On top of now being able to see wild pokemon in the overworld, players will no longer have to slowly damage and weaken pokemon before they can capture them. Game director Masuda mentioned in Nintendo’s Treehouse coverage that this was a design philosophy to allow players in the living room to more dynamically play together by encouraging friends and family to throw pokeballs together.
In handheld mode, players will instead use the gyro controls of the system itself rather than the Joy-Cons to line up the targetting reticle to throw their pokeballs. This means that unlike what was previously believed, it appears that motion controls are required to play the game.
Many players have expressed concern about how their party would level up without wild battles, but it was confirmed in Treehouse footage that experience would be gained party wide after catching a new pokemon.
However, footage from the official reveal has now been confirmed, as trainer battles have been left untouched. It still features the same combat mechanics with four moves of varying types per pokemon, and awards experience in the traditional way. If playing in co-op, both players are also able to participate in trainer battles. Both players will use their own pokemon, and select moves independently. Masuda mentioned that this was to not only help “novice” players, but also to allow players just dropping in to engage in the gameplay.
This multiplayer focus also extends to online social interactions, where players can trade and battle against one another. The games still require codes to connect to your friends, but have been simplified to use portraits of pokemon as the password rather than friend codes. Upon first reveal of the titles, it was wildly speculated that online features would not be present, but thankfully this confirmation means that whether players have friends at home or in different countries, they can still enjoy the “Let’s GO” games together.
At the same presentation in May, The Pokemon Company also revealed their new optional accessory, the PokeBall Plus. This new controller has the same functionality as a traditional Joy-Con, but allows players to also put pokemon inside the ball and take them outside in an effort to mimic both the games, and the popular anime.
However, at E3 it was confirmed that with each purchase of the accessory, players would also have access to the legendary pokemon Mew. This might frustrate some players who hoped to catch the elusive creature (who wasn’t obtainable in the original games) since the PokeBall Plus costs approximately 50 USD.
Both games, along with the accessory will launch on November 16th, 2018.