As many Pokémon GO fans likely know, gyms have always been one of the weakest aspects of the game. Lacking in features found in the key titles and mostly overtaken by bots in many parts of the world, the system is seen as a bit lacking compared to the rest of the game.
But now it seems Niantic have been listening to complaints here! Why?
Because as the title suggests, gyms are receiving a massive overhaul in the next Pokémon GO update!
Starting with a major change to the whole structure of the system. Prestige is gone. For good.
Instead, they now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team. Each of these slots must be unique (so no two identical Pokémon can be in one gym), and challengers will now battle them in the order they were assigned to the system.
And that’s not the only change here either. Oh no, motivation has been added too. How does it work?
Well, basically, each Pokémon starts out with a maxed motivation bar. Then, as they get defeated in battle, this goes down. Once it does, the Pokémon then gets weaker and easier to defeat, until either its fed berries (restoring motivation) or the gym falls to the other team. It’s an interesting little system, and stops teams from getting too entrenched (since challengers will be able to eventually knock out unmaintained gyms very easily).
Gym badges are another addition here. These act like mementos from the gyms you defeat, and mark which ones you’ve completed in the game. So if you want your gym to act like those in the main RPG… now they do.
However, the badges aren’t just for show.
Nope. Instead, they kind of replace the prestige system. By spinning the gym disc, feeding Pokémon berries or training at the gym, the gym badge’s level is hence increased and the rewards trainers gain for beating it go up respectively.
It’s an interesting little setup if you ask me, and acts like a way to give gyms a series of progression while simultaneously keeping the metagame fresh by having them stay easy to take down.
And that reminds me. Do you notice anything weird about that last paragraph? Like, the whole ‘spinning the gym disc’ thing?
Yeah, I thought so. But that’s because the discs on top of gyms are not just decoration any more. Instead, they now act like Pokestops. In other words, you can spin the disc on a gym to receive items like eggs and Poke Balls.
That’s quite useful really. Doubles the amount of Pokestops while not needing to add find additional locations for them.
However, it’s not the most interesting addition. I mean sure, the gym overhaul is nice and all. But at the end of the day, it’s not a new feature. It’s a few much needed tweaks to existing ones.
What is a new feature however, is Raid Battles.
Yep, Pokémon now has raids like those in a MMORPG. And this is where things get a little more… intriguing.
Basically, how it works is like this. At random, a Raid Battle can begin at a gym. When this happens, all Pokémon in said gym are returned to their owners, and a large egg appears on top of their gym in this place. Said egg then has a countdown. And when it reaches zero? That’s when the raid boss is revealed.
So what’s a raid boss? Well in a nutshell, it’s a super powerful Pokémon you have to take down in a team. Think of it a bit like World of Warcraft’s major boss fights in its raid instances. Or a very large, even tougher version of the Totems from Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Either way, once it appears, you and 20 others have the chance to take it down with your teams. Succeed… and you apparently get the chance to catch an extra powerful Pokémon of your own. Like maybe a legendary or something.
However, you can’t just go to every raid you come across! Oh no, you now need Raid Passes to do so. These are special free items that let you take part in a raid, and can be gotten one of two ways:
- From a gym as a free item.
- Via the in game shop
Unfortunately, there is a catch here. That catch is that the free ones are limited to one in your inventory at a time, and the paid ones… well they’re implied not to be. So if you want to take on more than one raid at a time, you’ll have to pay out for premium raid passes.
So that’s the raid feature for you. But the new additions still don’t end there.
Nope. In addition to the gym overhaul and raid bosses, the game now has extra items too. There’s the Rare Candy, which turns into that Pokémon’s candy when used. There’s the Golden Razz Berries that greatly increase the chance of a wild Pokémon capture (or refill motivation if used on a gym Pokémon).
And then there are TMs. Yep, Technical Machines are now part of Pokémon GO too. These come in (surprise) two types, and can be used to teach your Pokémon a new fast or charged attack. So yeah, if you don’t like a good Pokémon’s moves… you’re not out of luck any more. You can now change it to something more of your liking.
It’s another pleasant set of additions to the game, and one that makes gym battles actually somewhat important for people wanting the best Pokémon.
However, because of technical work needing to be done, it won’t all go live straight away.
Instead, Niantic is disabling gym battles while they implement the changes, and will bring them back when it’s done. So if you’re a current Pokémon GO player… well, no gyms for you for a while.
Still, it’s worth it in the end. Better to have a bit of downtime and a massive overhaul at a later point that a stagnant, dying game. And hey, the chances are a positive for pretty much everyone involved with the title.
So thanks Niantic. Your changes to Pokémon GO look great to me!
But what about you? Are you interested in Pokémon GO now gyms are being so thoroughly reworked?
Or have you lost all interest in the title already? Post your thoughts on this (and more) in the comments or on the Gaming Latest forums today!
Raid Battles and New Gym Features are Coming (Pokémon GO official Blog)
As well as this TechCrunch Video on the update.
Ever since Pokemon GO was released, there has been some speculation about when legendary Pokemon would be available for the game. They’re in the data, they’ve been spotted in alpha testing and they’ve actually ended up in people’s possession once or twice, but up until now, there’s never been an official way to get them in game.
But that’s all about to change! Why? Because according to a recent interview, legendaries and PvP functionality are coming this summer!
Here’s the quote confirming it by Niantic’s Mathieu de Fayet in Brazilian newspaper O Globo:
Right now we are working on some [features] that are due to hit this summer (in the northern hemisphere), such as giving more value to the choice of the teams, releasing Legendary Pokémon and introducing PvP.
There’s no denying that. He’s saying legendary Pokemon and PvP battles are coming soon, along with other changes to team building.
So yeah, good news for anyone playing Pokemon GO right now. You’ll be able to get legendary Pokemon soon, and player vs player battles are likely going to follow soon after.
As for the rest of us… well, it’s possible these additions may actually breathe some life into the game. Sure it won’t become as popular as it was in June last year, but hey, at least there’ll be a bit more to it than catching Pokemon and taking on gyms soon. That’s something good for the game at least.
But what do you think about it? Are you excited about the possibility of Pokemon GO getting legendary Pokemon and PvP battles soon? And how likely do you think it’ll be that said features will bring back interest in the game?
Post your thoughts on this (and more) here and on the Gaming Latest forums today!
Legendaries and PvP Coming This Summer (The Silph Road)
In recent times, fan game development has become a bit more difficult than usual. It’s been under fire from lawyers and internet sites, with claims going around that it’s of questionable legality. It’s seen an increase in take downs from paranoid companies (like Nintendo and Konami). And with the recent track record of projects released to classics like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, many developers are now looking for an alternative.
And in most cases, that means turning to indie game development. Or just rebranding their projects so they’re not based on an existing IP.
So here are some examples of this. Here are some examples of fan game creators becoming professional game developers, starting with a small company you may not have heard about yet…
Despite actually knowing the fan games they’ve developed. Why? Because the folks at Fusion Gameworks were responsible for Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, Super Mario Fusion Revival and Mega Man Day in the Limelight. Yes, that Mushroom Kingdom Fusion:
The one where Mario (and a bunch of other characters) save the multiverse from the forces of evil in an absolutely gigantic mega crossover. That was these guys’ first (and most well known) project.
Since then though, they’ve slowly gotten tired of the fan game world, eventually culminating in their recent decision to stop making them altogether. That’s in part because of Nintendo’s recent fan project shut downs, and the team deciding Super Mario Fusion Revival (their most recent project) was too risky to continue in that form.
So they quit fan game development for the time being, and are working on a bunch of indie games with a similar gameplay style to their fan projects. I can’t say more than that yet, but they do look really good none the less.
And hey, talking of crossover fan game devs, they’re not the only ones to have moved to the indie scene…
Oh no, their ‘rivals’ in crossover fan game development are doing likewise. That’s because Exploding Rabbit are the creators of a game called Super Mario Bros Crossover, and they’ve also decided to move into the realm of indie games.
They’ve done this with a game called Glitch Strikers, a 2D platformer mixing various gameplay styles from the eight bit era. This project (previously titled Super Retro Squad) was announced back in 2012 and had a successful Kickstarter campaign to go with it, raising over $50,000 from more than 1,800 backers.
Unfortunately, that’s where the story kind of goes a bit wrong. Why? Because it turned out that $50,000 isn’t really all that much in the greater scheme of things, and the title’s development eventually collapsed on itself. This was not taken well by certain people online. Nor by certain gaming blogs, who accused them of ‘spending the money on a house’ or funding it with Super Mario Bros Crossover revenue.
Still, it’s back in development now, with a new trailer:
And more updates on their official site and YouTube channel. Hopefully this revitalised attempt at making the game will work out a bit better than their first one.
Either way, onto a slightly more experienced example of fan game dev turned pro now. Why more experienced?
Well, because they’ve actually made multiple games. Two full titles in a series called Last Legacy, and without having to raise any funding for either on Kickstarter.
But this wasn’t where they started off. Oh no, they started off with some fairly well known fan game projects beforehand, and those were what they build their name on. Said projects were a Super Mario 64 demake called Super Mario Sunshine 64:
Plus a more advanced one called Super Mario 63:
Both were damn impressive works in general, and their indie works were arguably just as good. So yeah, it seems making the move from fan games to indie games can be done successfully.
For the last few months or so, Nintendo has been getting a bit more into the smartphone market. They’ve released Miitomo, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes alongside DeNA. Pokemon GO is still making a ton of cash for both them and the Pokemon Company. And with more games coming along the line, it’s quite clear many other franchises will be making the jump too.
One of which seems like it may be the Zelda series. Why? Because as the title suggests, the Wall Street Journal has sources saying that a Zelda smartphone game may be in development over at Nintendo.
So how does it work?
Well to be honest, no one really knows yet. Some sites are speculating that a Super Mario Run type model might be in play here (aka one time payment for the full game), though it’s unknown how well such a title could be monetised. I mean, Super Mario Run made less money that Nintendo wanted it to. I’m not sure they’d be too thrilled about Zelda on smartphones doing the same.
Freemium mechanics could work I guess. They’d be controversial (like the Amiibo in Breath of the Wild already are), but they’d certainly lower the barrier to entry here. People don’t like spending money on buying mobile games after all.
Either way, that brings us to the next question. Namely, how would the gameplay work in such a Zelda title?
Well again, no one really knows. It’s generally assumed it won’t be like Breath of the Wild or the 3D Zelda games out there, since such games are seen as excessive on smartphones. Too many resources required for too little benefit.
But generally, there are two schools of thought here. One, that it’ll be like a traditional 2D Zelda game (except maybe with shorter levels). That’s the Super Mario Run way.
Or alternatively, that it’ll be a spinoff game with a new gameplay style. You know, like Pokemon GO was to Pokemon. Or perhaps, how Link’s Crossbow Training was to Twilight Princess. That would perhaps be the simplest answer here.
Regardless of what they choose though, we’ll know about it sooner rather than later. That’s because the Wall Street Journal also mentions that the title will follow their upcoming Animal Crossing game on smartphones. And given that said game is coming in late 2017, that means the Zelda mobile game will follow some time afterwards. Perhaps in early 2018 or something.
So what do you think about it? Are you interested in the possibility of a Zelda game for smartphones? And if so, what kind of game do you think it’ll be?
Nintendo Developing The Legend of Zelda Smartphone Game (Wall Street Journal)
Well, this is certainly an announcement we never saw coming! It’s a new game by PaRappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura and Gitaroo Man creator Keiichi Yano! Here’s the teaser trailer for the title:
Plus a link to the official website. As you can see there isn’t much info there, but damn, the art and music certainly look great already. You’ve got the wacky character designs both are known for. The short bit of music on the site is as catchy as you’d expect. And well, with the game confirmed as a rhythm adventure title, it’s quite clear that it’s exactly what the fans are expecting. It’s basically gonna be like a new PaRappa the Rapper game. Or maybe a new Ouendan one.
And well, with those games being classics, no one can say no to that. Let’s hope the title ends up on Nintendo Switch at some point along the line too!
PaRappa the Rapper and Gitaroo Man creators announce Project Rap Rabbit (Gematsu)