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.
A bunch of new Pokémon are coming to Pokèmon Go this week – but thats not the only big change on the way. Pokémon Go will soon be aware of the real world weather around you, with a number of things in the game adapting accordingly. I spoke to Niantics Archit Bhargava and Matt Slemon about the new system, which they refer to as dynamic weather. Heres some of what they shared : As far as I can tell, there are at least five different types of weather in the mix: The timing of the new weather system isnt random: the incoming Gen III Pokémon first showed up in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire… which, as it just so happens, were also the first games in the series to feature changing weather in the in-game overworld. And for all of us in the Bay Area finding themselves thinking about the closest snow being a few hundred miles away: it shouldnt be an issue. Slemon tells me that Pokémon will spawn outside of their preferred weather, theyll just be much less common. As a funny side note: when Pokémon Go first launched, there was all sorts of folklore about what caused certain things to spawn. Driven by anecdotal evidence, folks were convinced that more ghost Pokémon spawned near graveyards (nope), or that Snorlax liked being around sweet shops (nope). There were all sorts of theories around weather – some players swore that more Dratini spawned when it was raining. Now that might actually hold true. Beyond being a neat mechanic for an AR game, its a clever way for Niantic to chip away at a problem: the colder it gets, generally, the fewer people go outside and play. Now that PoGo is weather-aware, theyre able to flip the problem on its head and incentivize playing when the weather looks bleak.