It's been two months now since Nintendo's ambitious project was announced in the form of the upcoming Pokemon GO, and the collective Pokémon internet fanbase lost their minds for a good while.
Pokémon GO is Nintendo's first take on mobile (iOS and Android) based augmented reality games, presumably following the success they had with incorporating AR features into their Nintendo 3DS handheld console. Pokémon GO is set to utilise location markers to allow players to hunt, catch and train virtual Pokémon through searching real-life surroundings and locations.
The limitations of these markers are yet to be discussed, but the sheer scope of the project as covered in the release trailer (above) highlights a huge amount of work being channelled into the app development by Nintendo and developers Niantic.
Pokémon GO Plus
The Pokémon GO Plus is an optional device being released in conjunction with the mobile game. Whilst the game itself will presumably notify players via the usual methods - noise, vibrations and/or on-screen notifications, the Pokémon GO Plus takes interactivity a step further.
Pokémon GO Plus is a wearable bluetooth device that works with the Pokémon GO app and functions primarily as a notification device like a smart watch. Similar to game mechanics introduced in Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, the Pokémon GO Plus will light up and vibrate when virtual Pokémon are nearby in real life surroundings.
The "Early 2016" Release Date?
There's been a lot of rumours circulating online recently regarding the fact that Pokémon GO may be released earlier than expected, namely in February 2016. These rumours seem to have their basis in a YouTube video created by an unofficial Pokémon GO channel, in which a fan explains he believes the game will be released February 27th 2016.
This is due to the fact that at the announcement conference back in September "the guy" (I'm assuming he's referring to Junichi Masuda, Game Director at GAME FREAK) mentioned that 2016 is the 20th Anniversary of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green, the original Nintendo GameBoy games that kicked off the wildly popular franchise. This led to widespread speculation that Pokémon GO was planned as a celebration of this landmark anniversary, but as far as I'm aware nothing has been officially confirmed on that point by Nintendo as of yet.
The YouTuber in question said that Pokémon GO would be launched to coincide exactly with the 20th Anniversary of the games originally released on the 27th February 1996, but this is just pure speculation.
It seems like a very short turnover between announcement and release for such a big game if it does release in February, and given that that's only three months away surely we'd have heard something by now? Even the upcoming Fallout 4 which was considered to have a very short turnaround between announcement and release still had a gap of five months so February seems a bit optimistic really, especially if they're going to be allowing for pre-orders of the Pokémon GO Plus.
Though a February/early 2016 release for Pokémon GO would be nice, personally I'm going to wait until we get some official news from Nintendo before I start getting my hopes up. Hopefully they won't keep us waiting for news as long as they have for Pokemon Z...