Niantic is adding 50 new creatures to Pokémon Go as well as dynamic weather in a major update for the mobile game. The dozens of new Pokémon come from the Hoenn region, and they will start rolling out this week for players to catch and collect in Pokémon Go, which has been enormously popular since its release in June 2016. The mobile game with augmented reality features has now earned a total of $1.2 billion in revenues and 752 million downloads, according to Apptopia, an app intelligence startup based in Boston. That success has enabled Niantic to continue investing in expansions to keep the game fresh, and now todays update will bring Pokémon Sapphire and Ruby creatures (which debuted in 2002) such as Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip into the action. More will arrive in batches the coming weeks, said Niantic global product marketing lead Archit Bhargava in an interview with GamesBeat . They will appear in a staged rollout over time, Bhargava said. This is good because so many players are close to completing their Pokedexes. As players explore for Pokémon, the current weather in their vicinity will be visible on the in-game map. This weather in the real world will impact the gameplay in a variety of ways that include changing Pokémon habitats and where you can find them, increasing combat power and earning more Stardust after catching a Pokémon. Players might find Mudkip splashing when it rains, Cacnea basking in the sun, and Snorunt huddling together in the snow. Certain Pokémon will be more likely to appear in the weather that suits them the most, so Pokémon Go Trainers can learn more about their local weather patterns and ecology to find these rare Pokémon and make progress on their Pokédexes. As the seasons change, theyll encounter different Pokémon. Once all of the creatures from Hoenn are released, Go will have nearly 300 Pokémon. Earlier this year, Niantic released the generation 2 Pokémon, expanded to more regions around the world, and it released the social collaboration feature Raid Battles. It also added more Legendary creatures in the summer. The company tried an event in the real world in Chicago, but it encountered a lot of problems. We continue to work on real-world events, Bhargava said. Things in Chicago didnt go well, but that did not deter us. We continue to work on it. Niantic still has a lot of room for expansion, as there are more than 800 Pokémon in the lore. Matt Slemon, product manager at Niantic, said in an interview that the Ruby and Sapphire games featured local ecology and weather. As the new Generation 3 creatures start appearing, so will real world weather effects. When its sunny out, youll see sun in the app screen. When its snowy, youll see ground texture reflecting that, and youll notice similar effects for rain and fog. If it is wet out, youre more likely to encounter water Pokémon. And youll see animations that reflect the weather. Gyms and raid battles are affected by the weather. Pokémon that are caught in their natural environments will be stronger. Encountering a War Turtle raid in the rain is much harder to fight, but it will yield more Stardust rewards. Niantic has been busy. Yesterday, it announced that it will reboot its first augmented reality game as Ingress Prime in 2018. Niantic also recently announced it has raised a $200 million venture capital funding round as it prepares a new Harry Potter AR game for 2018. Were all hands on deck now, and we want to end the year strong, Bhargava said.
Good news, Pokèmon Go fans: Gen III Pokemon are landing this weekOr, I should say, more Gen III Pokémon are landing this week. Niantic tells me that at least 50 new Pokèmon will be added to the game before the week is over, adding to the handful of Gen III monsters that showed up just before Halloween. But wait, Greg ! you might say, shaking your Pokédex at the sky. Gen III is supposed to add something like 130 new Pokèmon! Where are the rest?!Niantic isnt dropping everything at once this time around – theyll be rolling them out over time, instead. Im told theyre currently planning on having future Gen III Pokèmon released in themed groups – more Gen III Fire Pokèmon one week, Gen III grass Pokèmon another, etc. The choice to stagger the release schedule within a generation like this will probably bum out anyone itching to catchem all ASAP – but it makes some sense. Niantic only has so many generations to work with within the existing Pokèmon universe – and once players catch most of what a generation has to offer, they start clamoring for more. By splitting things up, theyre able to keep interest levels a bit more consistent over time. Gen III is otherwise known as the Hoenn generation, and is comprised of Pokèmon that first appeared in Pokèmon Ruby and Sapphire back in 2002. Niantics Archit Bhargava also confirmed to me that theyll be hosting an in-game holiday event this month. He didnt say much about what to expect, but did note that theyre aiming to start it up sometime around December 21st. Meanwhile, the company also announced that weather – as in the real world weather outside – will impact the game. More details on that here.