Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, which have been - and will probably continue to be - known to you and me as just Pokémon Switch, have finally been officially revealed, along with another unnamed 2019 Pokémon Switch RPG.
We've gathered up every bit of info that we have on Pokémon on Switch in all its forms, including the Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee release date, a summary of all we know about gameplay in our new features list, and how it differs from next year's mystery title.
Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee release date and new features
Update 12th June: Post-E3 Nintendo Treehouse
Game Director Junichi Masuda gave us a range of new information during Nintendo's E3 Treehouse event - and Eurogamer's Tom Phillips went hands on with the demo shown there himself. We'll quickly rattle off the essential stuff below, and then expect us to give this page a proper makeover in the near future! Read on below this for the rest of what we know.
- We saw loads of new gameplay footage, starting out in Viridian Forest and finishing up at the first Gym Battle with Brock himself.
- Pokéball throwing seems more timing based than accuracy based, although it is possible to miss.
- Pokémon earn Exp. from you catching Pokémon, with multiplier bonuses for how good your throw is, your technique (you can throw the ball underarm, overarm, etc.) and so on. Like the Pokémon Go experience you'd earn as a trainer is being passed to your whole party.
- It looks like you get the Exp. Share from the off.
- Wild Pokémon aren't just in long grass they'll roam around the areas nearby too.
- Wild Pokémon have different auras if they're particularly small or large. Red for large, blue for small. It's not clear if their size has any impact on gameplay or competitive viability.
- Your partner Pokémon will wiggle its tail when you're near a hidden item.
- A second player can join you just by wiggling their Joy-Con.
- Pokémon's stats - HP, Attack, Defense, Sp. Attack and so on - appear to be the same from the stats screen we saw in the demo.
- However, there's a new Candy-based system for powering them up.
- That system involves you being able to transfer Pokémon from your storage box in Let's Go to Professor Oak, and you'll get a certain type of Candy in return. Instead of it being that Pokémon's Candy like in Go however, it's more like Candy that corresponds to the 'Vitamins' of the mainline games.
- There appeared to be a rating for a Pokémon's CP - Combat Power, for non-Pokémon Go players - on the stats screen, although we need to look into that more.
- Your rival is called Trace, and the player character seems to be called Chase.
- Chanseys are working in Pokémon Centers.
- To connect with other players for trading online, you use a code made up of three Pokémon - say, Pidgey, Pikachu, Meowth - and when they enter the same code, you're matched together.
- When Pokémon are sent to Let's Go from Pokémon Go, they appear at Go Park, an in-game location you can walk around and explore. Interact with the Pokémon to go to the catch screen to try and catch it (higher CP or level Pokémon are harder to catch.)
- It looks like your Pokémon will be around level 30-40 when you unlock the ability to import Pokémon from Go, as a rough estimate of when that system unlocks.
- You can import Pokémon from anyone's Go account - obviously to start the process you need to have access to that account though.
- Pokémon sent from Go will leave your storage in Go, and you'll get some Candy in return for transferring them. Healthy, mighty, tough, smart, courage and quick candy are the types. Each one powers up a corresponding stat - HP, Attack, Speed, etc. - when used on a Pokémon of your choice. It's not clear how this links into the EV system, and how that backend system works.
- The Poké Ball Plus lets you store Pokémon on it and makes that Pokémon's "cry" sound when you shake it. The LED also has loads of colours, and will light up in the corresponding colour to the Pokémon stored there.
- If you buy the Go Plus at launch or pre-order, you'll get the mythical Pokémon, Mew, stored there already as a bonus!
- There's a bundle coming, that contains both a copy of the game and a Poké Ball Plus.
Original details follow:
The Let's Go games are described as "core RPGs" by the Pokémon Company - in the same way any mainline games, like Gold and Silver or Sun and Moon, are core Pokémon RPGs - and has a release date of November 16th 2018, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.
Though it is a core game like the "mainline, the Let's Go pair isn't, by most people's definition, a new "generation". That is, it only features one confirmed new Pokémon that we know of at the time of writing, rather than an entire batch of fifty or a hundred odd that comes with new generations.
With information still gradually trickling out about which features are coming and which do - and don't - return from other core Pokémon games, we've decided to collate everything we know about them in one big list. As more information's released, we'll begin to break this list up for a bit more clarity.
Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee new features list:
- You catch Pokémon like you do in Pokémon Go - Motion controls are required for catching Pokémon, either in the form of the gyroscope in handheld mode, the Joy-Con when docked, or via the Poké Ball Plus. You see Pokémon physically appear in the wild, tap on them to interact, and then enter a throwing screen much the same as the one in Go, with mechanics appearing largely the same too.
- No random encounters - Though you'll still be searching through long grass for Pokémon, they won't instantly spring upon you, instead appearing physically on the map screen. From there, you can either interact and catch, or leave them be.
- Pikachu and Eevee are set starters - You don't get to choose from three Pokémon this time: in Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, those two Pokémon are your respective starters, although they can at least be put into your box if you end up not being a fan, although there are some big changes to how boxes work (more on that below). Pikachu rides outside of its ball on your shoulder, and Eevee on your head.
- Other Pokémon can follow you outside their balls, and you can ride some too - You can't ride every Pokémon, but big ones (we're not sure how big they'll be but Onix and Lapras are some examples) can be ridden, whilst others can all follow you, like the hilarious Electrode in the reveal trailer.
- Boxes are now "in your bag" - it sounds like you can switch out Pokémon on the fly, whilst still having an active party of six. We were given the following quote from the Pokémon Company: "You can put your partner Pokémon in a box, but the way the box system works is different in these games in that you actually have a box in your bag. Your partner Pokémon does take up one of the six slots in your team."
- HMs are still gone - Riding Pokémon seems to be the main way you get past obstacles like water, as it was in Sun and Moon, although it's not clear how similar the systems will be, but you won't need HMs to ride Pokémon either.
- Trainer battles are still the same - Battles themselves are still turn-based, with Pokémon having four moves, and so on.
- You can import Gen 1 creatures from Pokémon Go to Let's Go - Any Pokémon of the first 151 that you've caught in Pokémon Go can be transferred to Pokémon Let's Go, via Bluetooth. How frequently and on what scale you'll be able to do this is still up in the air, but Shinies will carry over, too!
- There's local co-op - A friend can jump in at any point by using a second controller to help you, be that in a battle where they act as a 'support' trainer, or when catching a Pokémon. You can battle locally against people too.
- You can have multiple saves, but only one per Switch account - So, with one copy of the game both you and a sibling, say, could both play it on that console with your own saves.
- There are version exclusive Pokémon - This is now the main reason to think about getting both versions of the game, or making sure you and a friend have both versions covered.
- There's no breeding in the game - Big implications for competitive players here, although it's unclear if there will be any similar system available or not. It seems unlikely.
- You can't get to Johto - Being set in Kanto (which famously was accessible from Johto in the Gold, Silver and Crystal games), some players were wondering if this was possible. Masuda said "I can confirm that you won't be going to Johto". So it seems that it's not.
- Impact on canon - Another question is its position in the timeline and effect on the 'canon' of the mainline games is still unknown. Eurogamer was present at the announcement conference and, when asked about this, developer Game Freak's Junichi Masuda was... evasive, to say the least, refusing to talk about whether characters or references from the other core RPGs would appear in the Let's Go pair at all.
- IVs and EVs might work differently - Masuda described this as something "everyone definitely cares and wonders about. I cannot speak to details but we always focus on making the games accessible and easy to play for anyone but also have this depth which is there for the players - this will be the same for these games."
Whatever label you want to put on it, the Let's Go games can be boiled down to this: they're core RPG Pokémon games made in a new way, designed at catching a wider audience and bringing in a new generation of players (like the millions who's first introduction to Pokémon was with Pokémon Go), while still being chock-full of fan-service for the long-time players.
Other Pokémon Switch games explained - what's the difference between Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee, and the 2019 Pokémon RPG?
At the May 2018 press conference in Tokyo, the Pokémon Company International revealed information on three new, different Pokémon games, a new peripheral, and a surprise release of the first Alolan Form to Pokémon Go, too.
In short, it was a bit of a whirlwind conference. There are three Pokémon games that we're now aware of as either launched on the spot, or coming to the Switch in the future: Pokémon Quest, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee (we'll count them as one), and the currently untitled "core RPG" Pokémon game due to come out on the Nintendo Switch in 2019.
We've already discussed Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee. What about the other two?
Quest is a "free to start" Pokémon game that's available on the Switch right now, and will be coming to Android and iOS smartphones in late June.
A cute-looking, simplified Pokémon experience it features some lovely cuboid visuals, cooking recipes and some less-than-lovely, but typically mobile-game monetisation.
The untitled 2019 Pokémon RPG
Information on this game is very thin on the ground, but we know it's coming in the second half of 2019 (expect that to be the last quarter of 2019 really, given Pokémon's record for late-in-the-year releases), and that it's "in the style of Pokémon X and Y and Sun and Moon".
You can interpret that in all kinds of ways, but given the knowledge that's available we take that to mean that it will be a more recognisable Pokémon RPG - the more "hardcore" aspects like EVs and IVs, wild Pokémon battling, and so on are more likely to feature in that game.
Given that wild Pokémon battles and new generations of Pokémon are the most notable core RPG-style features missing from Let's Go, you can reasonably deduce that they're being considered for the 2019 game.
The thing to remember, though, is that this game is over a year away, and as such its features are going to still be very much in flux. If the new Go-style catching of Let's Go (more on that below) is a massive hit, then there's nothing to say it won't continue in the 2019 game. As we're well aware at this point, the Pokémon Company does love a good surprise, so keep your expectations in check!