Rumours about the next instalment in the Pokemon franchise have been batted around for a while with still no official confirmation from Nintendo about when we can expect to see the next game, generally accepted to be the follow up to Pokemon X and Pokemon Y - Pokemon Z.
It's come as a bit of a surprise to find ourselves drawing closer to the end of the year without any news on the Pokemon Z front. Since the franchise started back in 1996 this is the first year that a new game (or spin-off, like Pokemon Pinball or Rumble Blast) hasn't been released under the franchise title.
So What's The Score With Pokemon Z?
The latest news out of the rumour mill is the images currently circulating of a supposed leak from CoroCoro magazine. It's been the popular theory for a while now that legendary Pokemon Zygarde was going to be the main focus of Pokemon Z and these images seem to confirm that to be the case, introducing new forms of Zygarde depending on the percentage of power it has.
When Zygarde is at 100% it's said to be stronger than Xerneas and Yveltal (the titular Pokemon from X and Y) which is pretty neat. However this is all unconfirmed at the moment pending an official announcement from Nintendo, but it would be quite cool to introduce this new system alongside Mega Evolution - does anyone else think it's very similar to the Digimon evolution process though?
Anyway, last week it become a little clearer why we haven't had any news on the Pokemon Z front, and it's called Pokemon Go...
Pokemon Go Announced!
Holy shit yes. I love that they show people of various ages and businessmen in suits and ties playing the game as well alongside little kids; Pokemon has this adorable timelessness about it to which it owes it's lasting appeal.
Pokemon Go is an upcoming (2016) smartphone based augmented reality game which uses location-based markers to allow users to "catch" Pokemon based on real life surroundings and locations. An optional add-on device, the Pokemon Go Plus (which you can see in the image below), is a wearable bluetooth device which uses vibration alerts to notify players when a wild Pokemon is nearby.
At the moment it looks like the game will launch with just the original first generation Pokemon, so good news for 90s kids. This will also be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon Green and Red next year. It's likely that, if the game is a hit, they'll update it later to include more generations.
And sure, the trailer gives impossible expectations for the game. Augmented reality is still a developing technology, and Pokemon Go will be one of, if not the, biggest AR games yet.
The whole concept of the community events - Mewtwo in Times Square! - would be absolutely breathtaking to see, if they can find the correct integration between the AR tech and the outside world to make it work. So basically there's a lot resting on them pulling it off, although Nintendo's previous attempts with the 3DS AR features give me hope. The Pokemon Company and Nintendo will be working with AR developers Niantic to create the game so, godspeed to them.