It’s been a few good days since leaked footage of Pokemon GO — taken during a SXSW presentation by Niantic CEO John Hanke — hit the internet. Announced back in September as a joint effort between The Pokemon Company and Niantic, Inc. (makers of the popular Ingress mobile game), today we’re finally getting our first official look at the game, along with a few extra details about some of the gameplay.
As we saw in the leaked footage, the game revolves around catching Pokemon in real locations around the world using your phone as an augmented reality viewer. Because Pokemon vary by location, you’ll actually have to venture outside if you want to “catch ’em all.” Looking for some water Pokemon to build out your collection? Well, let’s just hope you have a real body of water nearby.
As you make your way around real-world locations, your phone will vibrate notifying you of when Pokemon are near. That, or you can pick up that Fitbit like accessory shaped like a Google Maps pin that will notify whenever Pokemon nearby so you don’t have to whip your phone out for every little thing.
Should you find yourself running low on Pokeballs, PokeStops can be found in historical markers, public art installations, or other places of interest. It’s here you’ll also be able to purchase Pokemon eggs, which hatch after a specific number of steps have been taken. Gyms work much the same way, with players being allowed to join up with 3 different teams.
Through the course of the game, your Pokemon will grow and evolve. Once you feel confident in enough, you can challenge others to claim a location’s gym, fighting off other players with your Pokemon who are looking to do the same. Sounds pretty intense.
There’s still no official release date, but a field test is currently planned for Japan. The dev team says tests will expand to new countries in the weeks to come, so let’s hope it’s not too much longer. We can’t wait to hit the ground running with Pokemon GO.