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Report: Pokémon Go ‘buddy system’ could let trainers bond with Pokémon

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Data-miners find possible big update in game’s code

Pokémon Go players might finally be able to interact with their favorite Pokémon in a future update, based on a system discovered in the game’s code. Programming enthusiasts elfinlazz and AeonLucid dug into the latest version of the mobile hit and found suggestions of a Pokémon "buddy system," which some think could be Pokémon Go’s next new feature.

Pokémon Go Hub broke down the data into layman’s terms. The proposed buddy system appears to let players walk with a single Pokémon at a time, similar to how Pokémon eggs can be carried around for certain distances. Doing so rewards the player with a number of candies. That’s crucial for aspiring Pokémon masters who hope to evolve their rarer finds; evolution requires a set number of candies that can only be collected by catching several of the same Pokémon.

It’s possible that the buddy Pokémon would appear on-screen with the player’s avatar as well. There’s code for "medium," "big," "flying" and "shoulder"-bound Pokémon in AeonLucid and elfinlazz’s finding, but most of what this presumed buddy system will entail is left up to speculation. It’s already present within the game’s programming, however, and the feature sounds like a way to get players better attached to their favorite Pokémon.

In its current form, Pokémon Go’s main philosophy differs from that of the handheld games. It encourages players to catch — and dispose of — as many Pokémon as possible, in lieu of building up a team of strong and beloved finds. Since the game requires players to actually travel around the real world to find Pokémon, too, it’s hard for players to find anything, let alone multiples of their favorites.

We’ve checked in with Niantic about the data posted on AeonLucid’s GitHub page. We’ll update with more when we receive it.

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