An update for Pokémon Go this summer may introduce some top-requested features to the game. An interview in a Brazilian outlet with a member of Niantic, the mobile game’s developer, suggests that multiplayer and legendary monsters are on the way.
“Because of the great success, we had to postpone some new features that were planned,” Mathieu de Fayet, Niantic’s vice president of strategic partnerships, told O Globo. “Now we are working on some new features for next summer [in the Northern Hemisphere], [like] how to give more value to the choice of the teams, the release of Legendary Pokémon and battles between players.”
De Fayet explained that social interactions are key to sustaining Pokémon Go, something Niantic learned through years of working on Ingress. Both augmented reality games have heavy social components — but Pokémon Go’s are mostly created outside of the game by players as opposed to offered by the game itself.
This is a conundrum that other Niantic members have alluded to before. At GDC 2017 in March, senior product manager Tatsuo Nomura told us that Pokémon Go’s designers “expect people to play with other people.”
CEO John Hanke told Wired this spring that making the game into something more social was important to Niantic. Features like gyms are especially good places to introduce more player-versus-player mechanics, he explained. The company later alluded to these social experiences heading to the game with a blog post in April, which was backed up by a datamine that suggested that “raids” and new gym features were in the works.
As for legendary Pokémon, we first got a hint of those all the way back in the game’s debut trailer, in which Mewtwo appeared. But we’ve only ever seen one legendary Pokémon in the game itself, and not through any official means. A player managed to get an Articuno, one of the franchise’s rarest monsters, into their game last summer, briefly causing a stir until Niantic confirmed the Pokémon’s appearance was a mistake. The company later said that legendary monsters would arrive before the end of 2017.
We’ve contacted Niantic for more details about this supposed Pokémon Go summer update and will update accordingly.