Pokemon Go evolves: 80 new creatures, four new features
Reason enough to fire up the game?
Sean HollisterSenior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Pokemon Go has barely changed since it rocked the world last July. Now, some seven months and 650 million downloads later, the game is getting what's arguably its first major update later this week.
The highlight? Eighty brand-new Pokemon to rope players back in. After all, the slogan's "Gotta catch 'em all," remember?
The new Pokemon hail from the "Johto" region of the fictional Pokemon universe featured in Pokemon Gold and Silver, games which arrived on the Game Boy Color back in 2000, meaning that Pokemon Go's creators are following the same chronological order for introducing new Pokemon as the original series of games.
While developer Niantic isn't releasing a full list of the new Pokemon, they'll include the obvious starters Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile, and you can spot some others in the video above.
But the update's not just about new pocket monsters for you to discover (and grind into candy) -- it's also going to introduce these brand-new features:
New encounter gameplay. "When you encounter Pokemon in the wild, don't be surprised if they react in new ways as you're trying to catch them. You'll also notice the addition of new item carousels that allow you to select Berries and Poke Balls directly from the encounter screen."
New Evolution items. "Some Pokemon originally discovered in the Kanto region will soon be able to evolve -- into Pokemon that inhabit the Johto region! Be on the lookout for new Evolution items at PokeStops, which you'll need to evolve some Pokemon."
New Berries. "While catching Pokemon, Trainers can use two new Berries -- the Nanab Berry, which slows a Pokemon's movements, and the Pinap Berry, which doubles the amount of Candy received if the next catch attempt succeeds."
New customization options, which you might need to pay for. "Trainers will also be able to customize their avatar's appearance with a new selection of hats, shirts, pants and other items. Additional items will be available for purchase from the in-game Pokemon Go shop."
A Niantic rep wouldn't say what "react in new ways" might mean. "Niantic is hoping to leave some things up to players to discover," they said. We also don't have a specific release date for the new features, beyond "later this week."
Since Pokemon Go already introduced seven new baby Pokemon from Gold and Silver, and the original Game Boy games introduced 100 new Pokemon in total, the math (100 minus 87) suggests we'll only be missing 13 to start.
It's worth noting that Pokemon Go still hasn't introduced any of the legendary Pokemon from the original Game Boy release, which might make Gen 2 seem a little premature. Then again, Niantic has repeatedly hinted that those Pokemon might only surface in live, global events, and the game is still rolling out around the world. South Korea joined the party less than a month ago.
Alongside the game updates, Nintendo will also be restocking the hard-to-find Pokemon Go Plus wearable, though we're not sure how many will be available or where. In January, Niantic claimed it had fixed some of the Bluetooth disconnection issues with that device and Android phones, though we haven't gotten a chance to confirm that.