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Niantic Lab’s upcoming Pokemon GO game gets first details and official screenshots released today

Whether this is a result of the video that was posted on YouTube recently showing some of the gameplay coming in Pokemon GO, which was taken from Niantic Lab’s talk during SXSW 2016, or because of the company cancelling their GDC 2016 talk and gameplay reveal, we don’t know. It could also be due to the questions that have arisen since that video’s release about the depth of the gameplay, or possible lack thereof. However, the timing on releasing the first details regarding Pokemon GO’s gameplay and its first screenshots is pretty impeccable.

For those of you not familiar with Pokemon GO, this isn’t like other games with the GO word in it, such as Lara Croft GO or Hitman GO. Instead, Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game where players go around the world in real life and try to capture and collect various Pokemon. Of course the game just doesn’t end at capturing Pokemon, well hopefully it doesn’t, since we have had very little to go on up until now with regards to what the gameplay will be like.

In the video posted a few days ago, we got to see the capturing process in action, but that was it for the gameplay preview. Capturing, from what we witnessed in said video, seemed to be just doing the act of ‘throwing’ your Pokeball at a Pokemon that has appeared. If you miss you throw it again, and continue to do so until you capture it. That was it. What we didn’t see was any type of battling being involved, even in just weakening the Pokemon to capture it.

Today we do know a bit more about the gameplay for Pokemon GO. While players are walking around in real life, Pokemon have a chance to appear pretty much anywhere. However, certainly Pokemon may only be found in certain environments, such as forest or parks. So water-type Pokemon may only appear near lakes and oceans. When you’re near a Pokemon, your phone will vibrate, letting you know one in near you.

As we mentioned earlier, catching a Pokemon requires you to ‘throw’ your Pokeball, which is done by tapping your screen when a Pokemon appears. However, there are other special items can be found at PokéStops located at various places in the real world, such as public art installations, historical markers, monuments and so on. As you catch Pokemon, your trainer level will increase, allowing players to capture more-powerful Pokémon and gain access to more items. A lot of the other gameplay elements are exactly what you would expect to find in a Pokemon game.

Some Pokémon can be evolved if the same species is caught on multiple occasions. Pokémon Eggs, which can be found at PokéStops, will hatch after players walk a certain distance. Players will be able to impress their friends by unlocking achievement medals that are earned by completing a variety of challenges. During gameplay, Pokémon GO players will be encouraged to join one of three teams and engage in Gym battles with other teams. Once they have joined a team, players will have the ability to assign their Pokémon to empty Gyms. Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world, and because only one Pokémon per player can be placed at a given Gym, team members will need to work together to build a strong defense. A Gym claimed by one team can be challenged by the other two teams. Pokemon GO

So the good news is that Pokemon battles at Gyms is included in this game. Hopefully they are plentiful because if PvP and battles only happen at Gyms, and there isn’t that many of them available, then PvP/Pokemon Battles may be harder to enjoy. It doesn’t sound like there is PvP in the wild. If there is, they haven’t indicated that at all yet. Earning Gym badges would be a nice touch.

As it stands right now, there is still no real release date for Pokemon GO. However, with more details and screenshots getting released, it looks like development is coming along quite nicely. We will post an update when we learn about any other details. You can check out the video from SXSW 2016 below.

Official Website: Pokemon GO

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