Niantic and The Pokémon Company announced today that Trainer Battles will soon feature in hit mobile game Pokémon GO.
The new mechanic (which, if you ask me, should've been there from the start) allows Pokémon GO users to jump into one-on-one battles with other players, as they stumble across them in the wild. You know, just like you can in any Pokémon game, ever.
"Trainer Battles have been created from the ground up for Pokémon GO under Niantic's core principles of social gameplay: getting players outside and exploring the real world together," said Kei Kawai, Vice President of Product at Niantic.
Trainer Battles are coming to Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic/The Pokémon Company
Trainer Battles follow a similar structure to regular Raid or Gym Battles. You choose a custom Battle Party of three Pokémon to fight against another Trainer or Team Leader, before repeatedly smashing the attack button. All Pokémon have a a new Charge Attack to let loose, too.
But where Pokémon GO previously lacked in defence - you had to stand there and take it on the virtual chin, or your Pokémon did - you can now apply the new Protect Shield to block powerful attacks during a bout. Only if you time it right, though.
"The Trainer Battles feature infuses the spirit of Pokémon GO with the classic concept of battling Pokémon, creating an exciting competitive angle for Pokémon GO Battles that also feels familiar to Pokémon GO and main series fans alike," said Matt Slemon, Product Manager for Pokémon GO at Niantic.
To start a Trainer Battle, you must be close to another player in the real world. You can then invite them to participate in friendly Trainer Battles through the new Battle Code invitation system. But once connections get stronger, and your friendship with certain Trainers reaches Ultra Friends level or higher, Trainer Battles can be activated remotely.
There's also dedicated and tiered Battle Leagues, that "will put a maximum cap on participating Pokémon's strength to keep the playing field even." Once fight is over, both players will receive a prize. This includes the chance of earning rare Evolution items that improve certain species of Pokémon.
There's no specific launch date scheduled for Trainer Battles so far - all we know is that it's coming "soon". And once it releases, Niantic have a vision "for this new dynamic social feature, which will grow and evolve over time with new gameplay mechanics".
Pokémon Go Trainer Battles allow you to defend with shields. Credit: Niantic/The Pokémon Company
What do you think about this news? Do you play Pokémon GO? Are you looking forward to Trainer Battles? Should they have been implemented already?Let us know.
Featured Image Credit: Niantic/The Pokémon Company