Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu!/Let's Go Eevee! - Announcement

Well, folks... we've got a lot to discuss -- and while I've got my own opinions, we are going to stick to the facts and what's been revealed to us today, with some follow up blogs over the next couple days as myself and some of the GameZilla Media team digest everything.

In true Nintendo/Pokémon fashion, the official alert went out MINUTES before a conference in Japan that revealed to us our next 'main series' Pokemon games as well as a new "free-to-start" game, Pokémon Quest, available now on the Nintendo Switch and "soon" on mobile devices.  Keep an eye out for a breakdown of Pokémon Quest over the next few days after I'm able to spend some more time with it.

Before we started, it's extremely important to note that Nintendo did announce that there is another main-series game in the works due out in the second half of 2019, while also having Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! Pokémon: Let's Go Eevee! due out November 16, 2018. 

At first glance we see that the look of  Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu!/Eevee! (referred to throughout the remained of this blog as "P:LG!") is the gorgeous, smooth, high definition version of the world we've seen evolve (pun intended) over the last couple decades.  Since there was no live broadcast of the entire event, I have done my best to comb reputable sources and gather as much information as possible, however there is a slim chance that some of the data is premature or incorrect. For the sake of getting all the facts on the table, we're going to look at a very poignant breakdown of what we know:

  • There is heavy integration with Pokémon Go up to and including transferring captures from the mobile game to the Switch.
  • There is no traditional 'battle' mechanic when it comes to catching wild Pokémon, instead it's extremely similar to what we see in Pokémon Go.
  • Gyro is required for the catching mechanic, having you 'throw' a Joy Con in docked mode, or maneuvering your entire Switch in handheld mode.
  • A 'couch co-op' mode has been introduced for tag team battles against the AI as well as increased capture chances for wild Pokémon.
  • Pokémon do not seem to be random encounters anymore, instead being visible on the over world map.
  • P:LG! is a re-imagining of Pokémon Yellow where you will start with Pikachu or Eevee and go on a journey through Kanto similar to the first generation.
  • Only the original 151 Pokémon and Alolan forms are set to appear, however a 'never before seen' Pokémon was teased.
  • You are able to customize your starting partner Pokémon (Pikachu or Eevee) but they are unable to evolve.
  • Your starting Pokémon will travel with you out of combat, rather on your shoulder or your head.
  • You can select ANY of your Pokémon to follow behind you in the over world!
  • The Pokéball Plus was announced, a device that allows you to not only control the game, but also "take" a Pokémon with you outside the game, has a LED that lights up, and vibrates.  This reminds me a lot of the Pokéwalker from Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver. We were teased with there being benefits to taking one of your Pokémon with you on the go, but nothing was detailed.  It has a 3 hour battery life and is rechargeable via USB-C (as is the Nintendo Switch, itself).
  • The Pokéball Plus is rumored to be ~$50 USD, but there's an expected bundle with either of the games.
  • You are able to box your partner Pokémon, but it will take up one of your six slots if not.
  • There seems to be no traditional "box" mechanic from previous games, instead you seem to carry the box with you, which potentially could allow for switching Pokémon in between trainer battles.
  • HMs are still removed from the game; the trailer seems to suggest a similar replacement mechanic to Pokémon Sun/Moon.
  • No plot differences between the two versions.
  • You will be able to have multiple 'save files' on one system, but you cannot interact between them.
  • There is no online functionality in the game, though local battles and trading sounds very likely. [UPDATE: There seems to be a lot of discrepancy on this point due to translation differences from the post-conference Q&A, so I'm retracting this until The Pokémon Company makes an official statement]

And that's all I've got for you!  At a quick glance, P:LG! looks to be a gigantic expansion of Pokémon Go while bringing in some traditional Pokémon mechanics.  While I'll get into my thoughts in a later blog (because I have to go re-install Pokémon Go), as of this moment in time my initial reaction is positive.  This game will help introduce casual fans into a bit of the series's depth and start grooming a whole new generation of gamers that will be ready for the true "core/main series RPG" coming out mid 2019.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments below or join the Discord for some real time conversation.  Keep an ear out for a possible GameZilla Alpha focus show where we dig deep into what we've learned today, and stay tuned to all things GameZilla while I follow these games like an hungry Raticate. 

Thanks for reading, and as always, Game On!