Good news, everyone! Niantic, Inc.'s hugely anticipated AR game Pokémon GO finally began field testing in Japan yesterday. Even better news, everyone! Some of those lucky players involved in the field testing almost immediately leaked screenshots and gameplay details on Reddit and 4chan (many of whom ended up getting swiftly banned from the Ingress app for their troubles, never forget).
So, let's get down to it, what did we learn from the leak?
Pokémon And Pokédex
As we suspected, Pokémon GO looks like it's going to be limited to Gen I Pokémon only, at least initially. Data mining revealed 151 Pokémon files and they comprise the original set, from Bulbasaur to Mew.
As with the games, you begin the field test with no Pokémon, but unlike the games, apparently you don't get your starter just given to you by a suspiciously friendly professor (though Starter Pokémon are mentioned in the game's startup code, so this report is conflicting).
Each Pokémon will be classed as either normal, legendary or mythic, and fall into one of seven different natures as follows:
Pokémon GO will include all types of Pokémon, including Fairy, Dark and Steel. This suggests that we will be able to move beyond just the Gen I Pokémon at some point. Perhaps this is where micro-transitions and the Trainer leveling system come into play.
Data mining revealed 232 separate combat moves, 95 of which are classified as quick moves. Interestingly, the Pokémon skill set is not limited to that of Gen I as moves such as Moonblast (Gen VI) and Shadow Claw (Gen IV) are found on the list.
Combat also includes a "dodge function" so, as in the games, moves likely aren't 100 percent accurate. Damage and Defence variables have also been found in the files as have as CPs (probably Combat Points), which are unique to each Pokémon and suspected to relate to individual catching difficulty.
There are also four different damage tiers for battle: No Damage, Reduced Damage, Normal Damage and Increased Damaged. It's been rumored that the combat skills may be limited to two per Pokémon, but there's been no direct confirmation from field testers on that front.
Like Niantic, Inc.'s other augmented reality project Ingress, badges are equated to achievements unlocked when you hit certain numbers under each category. Here are the ones that have been reported on Reddit so far:
- Walking distance
- Pokédex entries
- Pokémon captured
- Forts defeated
- Pokémon evolved
- Pokémon hatched
- PokéStops visited
- Unique PokéStops visited
- Pokéballs thrown
A variable named Gym Points was also found in the data, but it is yet to be clarified exactly what this means and how the points come into play in the games. Forts could perhaps function as (or otherwise be linked to) Pokémon Gyms, so perhaps Gym Points is linked to Forts defeated.
There is a section in the code referring to Gym Battles, as well as Gym Training, that is interesting. And the Gyms seem to be separated into the three teams referred to in the game: Blue, Red and Yellow.
Evolution And Breeding
Of course, what would Pokémon be without evolution? Pokémon GO is reported to put a bit of a spin on the process, with evolution occurring when you collect evolution shards from wild Pokémon and use the shards to create evolution stones (Eevee style). No word yet on whether different Pokémon types will require different evolution stones, but it seems likely.
Apart from the fact that we know this mechanic is included, there's not a huge amount of information on the breeding front, other than the fact that egg hatching may be related to distance walked by the player.
Screenshots confirm that your player character Trainer will be customizable, with gender options and 52 items/haircuts/clothing options available, creating 23,328 unique combinations altogether.
There's also been mention of three teams in the game, these being Blue, Red and Yellow, as a nice First Gen throwback. When you begin the game you're listed as Teamless, so presumably you get to decide which team you want to join as you progress.
We saw in the leaked footage last week that the player character would work on a level system, with the Trainer in the leaked video being at Lv. 9. The new leak confirms this, with the Trainer level cap reported to be currently set at level 50.
The data also refers to a Message Box System. Likely this will provide a means to communicate Trainer to Trainer across distances, and for relaying messages from the game to the player.
You do of course have an inventory, which will be capped at 1000 items and 500 Pokémon and eggs. Lots of wiggle room, but is it enough?
Five hundred seems plenty now with only 151 Pokémon available to be captured, but what about when we get around the later generations? No word yet on whether or not there'll be a Pokémon Bank function or microtransaction expansion available for GO, but with a cap of 500 it seems likely.
As for the items, these include:
Pokéballs: Regular, Great, Ultra and Master
Potions: Regular, Super, Hyper and Max
Battle Items: X-Attack, X-Defense and X-Miracle
Berries: Razz, Bluk, Nanab, Pinap and Wepear
The item storage system is separated into six categories: Pokéballs, Food (likely berry storage), Medicine, Boost, Utilities and Camera.
A PokéNav variable has been found in the game; there's no word yet on exactly how it will be utilized, but it's safe to assume this will be your GPS system as in the main series games.
Aaah, you knew it couldn't be that easy, right? A number of in-app purchases have been found in the mined data, comprising of Ball, Medicine, Food, and Gem bundles in Small, Standard or Large quantities.
There are six pricing tiers mentioned, too, from Free to 05, but no word yet on how that translates currency-wise.
Location, Location, Location
Pokémon GO will include biomes and locations such as train stations and hospitals (PokéCenters, perhaps?). PokéStop (likely the GO equivalent of PokéMarts) and Gym markers have also been revealed in the leaked screenshots.
Additionally, there will be a day-and-night cycle featured in the game, as seen in the images and the mined game data itself.
Lastly, have this screencap taken of the wonderfully designed loading screen.