The Pokémon Company has announced (and confirmed) what it is calling the next mainline Pokémon RPG games and a dedicated, Pokémon-themed accessory are coming to Switch in November.
Firstly, it’s worth noting these games are not the Pokémon Switch RPG that was announced with few details at E3 2017. That game is coming in 2019 and these two games are separate.
Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee! are inspired by Pokémon Yellow, take place in Kanto, and serve as a console counterpart to Pokémon Go. They are designed and geared towards younger players “taking their first steps into the Pokémon video game world.”
Although the exploration segments in the Let’s Go games look similar to Sun and Moon’s (albeit with higher-res but slightly more cutesy graphics), tn these games players will be able to catch Pokémon using the Switch’s motion controls, the interface for which looks nearly identical to Go’s (the Pokémon also look nearly identical to their Go incarnations, albeit with smooth edges and higher textures).
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The Pokémon Company also wants the Let’s Go games to serve both newfound fans brought in by Go as well as the mainline RPG games. Your central partner (whether it’s Eevee or Pikachu) will be a bigger part of your team: You can pet it, deepen your bond with them and customize them with different outfits. You can also have one other Pokémon in your party follow your around – and you’ll ride around on the larger ones, such as Onyx or Charizard.
The Let’s Go Games, being on a console, also have co-op. In co-op mode, each player can hold a Joy-Con and manage a single Pokémon in battle. Two players can also explore the field at the same time, and make it easier to catch Pokémon in the catching interface.
The new Poké Ball Plus accessory can replace the Joy-Con while playing. It lights up and rumbles as you’re playing. Leter, you can store a Pokémon in your Ball Plus and take it with you. As you walk around outside, The Pokémon Company’s Shinya Takahashi said “some fun things might happen,” which the company will talk about at a later date.
Alongside the games, The Pokémon Company also announced the Poké Ball Plus accessory. It can be used in place of a Joy-Con and will light up in a variety of colors, and rumble, which will let players feel the Pokémon inside of them (presumably with the Switch HD rumble). It will also let you take your Pokémon out into the real world (presumably like the Pokéwalker included with HeartGold and SoulSilver) and, finally, it can function as a Pokémon Go Plus for Pokémon Go.
The Let’s Go games are also inspired by Pokémon Go, and will connect to it as well. Kanto-region Pokémon captured in Go can be transferred to Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee by connecting your Switch and Go accounts. They’re also visible inside the tall grass, removing a degree of randomness to Pokémon battles. You can play the entire game with just a single Joy-Con, catching Pokémon by swinging it in various directions.
The Pokémon Company also offered the following promise: “Something special will also be coming to the world of Pokémon Go, making the connection between both games even more appealing for Trainers. Details for this will be revealed in the near future.” The trailer for the game also said Go players would meet “a special” Pokémon in Go by playing the Let’s Go games.
Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu, Let’s Go Eevee, and the Poké Ball Plus will all be available on November 16.
I’m a little surprised it has taken so long for a Pokémon game to communicate with Go. I know everyone (myself included) is excited for details about the next true Pokémon game and what it will look like on Switch, but this is an interesting spin-off, especially for young players. Also, if I can ride an Arcanine, this is already a top-five Pokémon game.