originals\ Sep 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Looking towards, and dreaming about the bigger picture of Pokemon GO

Gym Leaders, Team Rocket and more

Yesterday, Pokemon fans were rocked by a surprise trailer for a game no one was ever expecting. While I'm sure it wasn't fully representative of the final product, it gave fans a pretty good idea of what Pokemon GO at least aims to do.

To summarize the trailer, Pokemon GO takes the core game experience of catching, trading and battling Pokemon, except in the real world thanks to AR technology. Crazy right? For a Pokemon fan, that concept alone sounds like a dream come true.

Granted, we don't really know much else about the game. How do you train your Pokemon? Will it be impossibly hard to capture wild Pokemon? How will microtransactions work (come on, you know they're there)? Do you even get a starter Pokemon? But these questions are mere trifles compared to the bigger picture that I'm envisioning. Maybe Pokemon GO is just a stepping stone for a much larger project. Or perhaps Pokemon GO is that large project, but we can't know for sure since we haven't seen it in action.

Let's take a bit to speculate and perhaps dream of a world where Pokemon will be integrated into our daily lives.

Set out to be the very best, like no one ever was

Pokemon is centered around youths leaving their homes in hopes of becoming Pokemon Masters, a title not taken so lightly as it surrounds not only coming across and capturing all types of Pokemon, but also defeating powerful Gym Leaders and signifying their victories with badges (but I'll get to those later). Now take the app, which seemingly has different Pokemon appear in various regions of the world, and you have a recipe for a real life journey.

Now, bear with me here, but consider the crazy world we live in. There will be those hardcore enough to chart out their journey across the world, only to come across and capture certain Pokemon. It seems fantastical almost, but we live in a world of passionate people with an almost unhealthy amount of fandom. I can imagine that there are folks right now, even after that short trailer, who are already looking up cheap flight tickets around the world and charting up a potential journey for 2016.

Gym Leaders / Elite Four

In the world of Pokemon, Gym Leaders are individuals with powerful Pokemon, who act as checkpoints for Pokemon Trainers, with the Elite Four being the final showdown. This same concept could potentially translate into the real world. *Mind blown*

Gym Leaders Pokemon GO

This could be you!

Except think of Gym Leaders being less temporary, and instead shift from person to person, depending on their current standing in a given area. I envision a feature similar to Foursquare which awards the position of Mayor to an individual who visits a certain location frequently. The same could be applied to Pokemon GO, except instead of visiting, it could count the number of victories a person has achieved.

A Gym or Location Leader would then be sought after by all others in the area, hoping to take them down, and then achieve that status for themselves. And what if the Location Leader gets off the grid? Easy! Just give them a time limit to keep their Leader status. If they don't accept a challenge within a certain time period, the torch gets passed onto the next highest ranking player.

And the Elite Four? Well given Nintendos recent success and popularity with the 2015 World Championships, I could picture a yearly event where the top players are invited by Nintendo to a rotating location to see who the top player is for that year.

Gangs

Just like Gym Leaders, gangs are staples of the Pokemon world, with Team Rocket being the most notable. Granted, gangs are usually depicted in a negative light throughout the series and games, but it wouldn't have to necessarily be the same in the real world.

Team Rocket Pokemon GO

The trailer featured a scene where three guys and three girls were battling against each other, meaning that there is a large possibility of group battles. Now picture a gang or group dedicated to certain type of Pokemon, vying for domination. I'm already picturing The Poison Arboks with their leather jackets and a slew of poison Pokemon at their side trying to take on any chump they come across. 

Vacation Destinations

If rare Pokemon only appear in certain locations around the world, I can picture some companies advertising their destinations with the promise of coming across them and hopefully capturing them.

Pokemon GO

"Come visit Ireland's Ring of Kerry, teeming with wild Bulbasaur and Vulpix." It's a stretch but I've seen crazier things happen in this world.

Pokemon GO Plus

While the peripheral shown off wasn't the sleekest of wearables, the potential it has is absolutely huge. Unlike the citizens of Kanto, Johto and other Pokemon regions, not everyone in our world will be a Pokemon trainer once the app comes out.

Consider the wearable to be more of an identifier. By simply looking at someone's wrist, you'll be able to identify a potential Pokemon Trainer waiting for battle. It will be similar to how the game handles matches against other individuals; By walking into their field of view. Except here, you at least have an easy to see bracelet, just so you don't yell out "I challenge you!" to the random lady waiting in line for her coffee, only to be greeted with blank stares.

Of course this also depends on the peripheral's cost. It's a simple bluetooth device that only lights up and vibrates, so going by that, we could assume the cost shouldn't be high. I mean bluetooth headsets go for about $25 noawadays.


These are, of course, rather big dreams for an app/game that we don't yet know the capabilities of yet. For all we know, this could end up being a complete bust. But given the crazy success of Ingress, which is also an AR game developed by Niantic, that doesn't happen to have an insanely popular license attached to it, I certainly have high hopes for Pokemon GO.

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Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @Michael_GZ
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