Niantic’s trickle of Gen 3 Pokémon released into Pokémon GO is becoming a river. After introducing a few Gen 3 ghosts in this year’s Halloween event, today Niantic announced that later this week it will add fifty Gen 3 Pokémon to the game, including the three Ruby and Sapphire starters, Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip.
Pokémon GO released a new trailer to make this announcement, which showcases other Pokémon like Salamence, Shiftry, Ludicolo and Groudon, which may indicate that these Pokémon may arrive in this initial batch of 50. Groudon is a Legendary, so I would be surprised to see him in particular released into raids right away, but I suppose it’s possible.
I’m not quite clear on why Niantic decided to roll out only 50 more Pokémon from Gen 3, about a third of the remaining total, but the rest should be released “in the coming weeks,” though whether that’s by the end of December or further into the winter, I’m not sure.
Speaking of winter, despite all the Gen 3 Pokémon, the main focus of Niantic’s announcement is actually about a new weather system they’re integrating into the game, the first of its kind for an AR title.
It’s not just that it will mirror your local weather and it will appear rainy, sunny or snowy on the screen, it will also actually affect gameplay. Niantic gives the example of it being more likely to find Mudkip on rainy days, or Charizard’s fire moves being more effective on sunny days. Niantic has experimented a little bit with this with certain Pokémon spawning at night, but this will be taking things to a new level, and I will be impressed if the game manages to accurate recreate the local weather of every player in every country consistently. It will also bring a new dynamic to the travelling aspect of the game, if you live in a region where it doesn’t snow, for example.
Niantic promised they were going to start talking about new features coming to the game, and it appears this weather idea is one of them. While it is definitely cool, I do worry that Niantic may be overly focused on neat tech tricks rather than core gameplay. Pokémon GO doesn’t really need spawn alterations or moves that work better on sunny days. It needs more things to actually do. Yes, catching Gen 3 Pokémon is certainly something to do, but I mean more activities past just catching, gyms and raids. That’s what needs to be worked on the most, but we’re not seeing any additions like that here.
We do not yet know the full list of 50 Pokémon that are entering the game later this week, but I’m guessing players will have them catalogued within the first hour or so. Stay tuned for more updates about this big new development, and get ready to start catching a whole new generation this weekend.
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