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Niantic has announced that Gen 2 is rolling out

Tech Columnist Paul Tassi published an article on Pokémon GO

It’s been something of an open secret that Generation 2 Pokémon from the games Gold and Silver installments were coming to Pokémon GO at some point. But at this point, with so little official information, it seemed as if their arrival was still months away.

THIS MORNING, NIANTIC HAS ANNOUNCED THAT GEN 2 IS ROLLING OUT

This morning, Niantic has announced that Gen 2 is rolling out (almost) all at once with 80 new Gen 2 Pokémon appearing in the game by the end of this week. These are all “Johto” region Pokémon, and while the game has gotten a few Gen 2 “babies” in an earlier event, this is Pokémon GO’s biggest update since launch, one that should result in a huge resurgence in interest, even if the game has fallen out of favor with many.

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TODAY IS A MOMENTOUS OCCASION FOR OUR TEAM

“Today is a momentous occasion for our team here at Niantic which has been hard at work to deliver these additional Pokémon and build upon the encounter and capture mechanics for our passionate global community of Trainers playing Pokémon GO,” said John Hanke, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Niantic, Inc. “Pokémon GO is a live experience which we’ll be continuing to support and evolve in new and interesting ways for years to come with new gameplay features, in-game and live events, more Pokémon to discover and much more.”

As hinted at in Hanke’s statement, more changes than just Gen 2 are coming to the game with this massive update. That includes a reworking of the encounter/capture system, new items required for evolution, new types of berries, and new customization items for trainers. It’s unclear which, if any of these, will be worked into the game’s microtransaction system, but regardless, an update of this magnitude will rake in revenue for Niantic all the same.

Fans have been clamoring for the Gen 2 update for months now, but this is a surprise, given that it’s on the heels of GO’s latest holiday event for Valentine’s, and it’s still winter in many regions when some thought Gen 2 might be saved for spring when the weather thaws a bit, given how reliant GO is on outdoor play.

The only hint that Gen 2 was coming this week, possibly on the 18th, was a photographed sign at a German mall that said Gold and Silver Pokémon were arriving on that day. The GO community went on a fact-finding mission regarding the sign, but nothing conclusive was found, and it could have easily been a mistake. Turns out it wasn’t, and the retailer had indeed leaked the info a day or two early. Given how massive this update is, I’m frankly surprised it wasn’t leaked by multiple sources, but here we are.

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FOR THOSE COUNTING GEN 2 POKEMON ON THEIR FINGERS

For those counting Gen 2 Pokémon on their fingers, 80 seems to be leaving a few out, given that there are 100 in new Pokémon added in Gold/Silver. Eight are babies, and six are legendary/mythic, so that leaves 86, and it’s unclear where the last few may be hiding. Niantic still has not figured out a plan for rolling out Legendary Pokémon, but recent comments seem to indicate that the company is still trying to decide how to organize and execute live events that may serve as a launching pad for these ultra-rare Pokémon.

Photo: Niantic

Photo: Niantic

Needless to say the Pokémon GO community is buzzing about this new update, but there’s still a lot to learn. It’s unclear what the new mechanics and items are that are being added to the game, and there’s no exhaustive list of which Gen 2 Pokémon are arriving yet. There’s also no firm launch date, but again, early leaks said Saturday, the 18th, and the announcement does say by the end of the week, so look for it around then.

It’s hard to believe this moment is finally here, and Gen 2 will be the first real test of Pokémon GO’s staying power. There are many, many more generations to come after this, and Niantic has made so much funding the game can essentially run forever at this point. This is step two in a very long term project, something most mobile games don’t have the luxury of enjoying.

I’m off to hunt down more information about this Gen 2 update, so check back here for updates. In the meantime, charge your battery and get your winter coat ready.

Update: Niantic has sent out a few screenshots of the new update, and the Pokemon GO site has been upated with some specific info about new items, including what the new berries do and how you obtain evolution items.

Photo: Niantic

Photo: Niantic

From the site:

“Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Totodile, and many more Pokémon are nearly here! Starting later this week, you’ll have the opportunity to catch more than 80 Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games. We’ve also implemented some new features to enhance your Pokémon GO experience.

Additional Pokémon: More than 80 Pokémon that were originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games, as well as Pokémon with gender-specific variations, will start rolling out in Pokémon GO.

New Evolutions: There are now more opportunities to evolve your Pokémon in Pokémon GO than ever before. Some Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region will soon be able to evolve—into Pokémon that inhabit the Johto region! Be on the lookout for new Evolution items at PokéStops, which you’ll need to evolve some Pokémon.

New Encounter Gameplay: When you encounter Pokémon 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 Poké Balls directly from the encounter screen. Hone your skills and catch those elusive Pokémon!

New Berries: Pokémon enjoy eating Berries, and you’ll have the opportunity to get two new Berries by spinning the Photo Disc at PokéStops—Nanab Berries and Pinap Berries! Giving a Pokémon a Nanab Berry will slow its movements, making it easier to catch. The Pinap Berry doubles the amount of Candy you’ll receive if your next catch attempt succeeds.

New Avatars and an Expanded Wardrobe: Now you’ll be able to give your avatar a complete upgrade! Customize your look with a whole new selection of hats, shirts, pants, and other items.”

A few interesting points here, including that evolution items are found at Pokestops and will NOT be sold as a microtransaction (phew!). I’m not sure what “react in new ways” means with wild Pokemon, but the new ball/berry selection tool looks good. The berries are a pretty significant addition, particularly the one that lets you get double candy per catch, as that could halve the time it takes to upgrade or evolve many Pokemon if used consistently. Finally, it’s unclear if new avatar wardrobe items are microtransactions or not, which seems like it would be a non-controversial no-brainer as a bonus revenue stream, but that isn’t confirmed. Still, very exciting stuff all around.

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Kamil Arli

Editor of DigitalReview.co. Digital Media Consultant

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