Pokémon GO players were expecting details about new Pokémon today… and sure enough, we just got them.
Pokémon from the series’ second generation (“Johto”) are making their way into the game — but not all at once, it seems. And, in a further twist: You won’t be able to catch these first ones in the wild. You’ll have to hatch them from an egg that you’ve picked up at a Pokéstop.
A rep for Niantic confirmed a handful of details to us:
- This addition brings Togepi, Pichu, and “select” (but undisclosed) Pokémon originally from Pokémon Gold/Silver
- There’s going to be special edition Pikachu — “wearing a festive hat” (because, as any Valve fan knows, there’s little that can’t be solved with hats) — that players can catch. It’ll appear from now until December 29th at 11 am PST and will apparently “appear in large quantities during this period”
So — why eggs? From a player’s standpoint, this emphasis on egg hatching probably isn’t the most welcome approach. It taps the least exciting/most frustrating part of the game and makes it the sole method of catching these guys. This game is fun because it makes people go outside and play what is essentially an ephemeral scavenger hunt together — something that this eggs-only approach doesn’t really play to very well; it gets you outside, but with very little reason for camaraderie. It misses what makes the game thrilling.
From Niantic’s standpoint, though, this is just about as much bang-for-their-buck as they can get out of a small release of new Pokémon during the cold winter months. Egg hatching takes time (going to Pokéstops), effort (walking up to 10km to hatch an egg) and there’s a massive element of luck to it (the Pokémon inside each egg is largely random, after certain limitations like country of origin accounted are for). Notably, players can’t use third-party radars to find the egg they need, nor can they even really tell each other where to find them because they’re dispensed at random.
Meanwhile, players can only hatch one egg at a time… unless you spend money. Eggs are hatched by placing them in an incubator and walking a certain distance; you get one infinite-use incubator free, but can buy up to eight more (for about a buck each) that expire after three uses. I’ve got 9 eggs to hatch before I can even start thinking about these new ones.
Update: They’ve just pushed this video up to YouTube:
Update #2: Meanwhile, the press materials for the announcement also had this image, which pins down exactly what that “festive hat” is:
Update #3: Sure enough, Pikachu is rockin’ a Santa hat right now (screenshot via xxDeus777xx on /r/PokemonGo)