The Pokemon Company and Niantic reveal plans to hold a 'field test' of upcoming mobile title Pokemon GO, with some fans allowed to play the game before its release.
Western video game fans sometimes have legitimate reasons to feel envious over their Japanese counterparts, with the home of Nintendo and Sony often receiving exclusive and early releases of games. Now, there's one more reason for American audiences to wish they lived abroad. The Pokemon Company and Niantic have confirmed that some Japanese Pokemon fans will be able to get their hands on Pokemon GO earlier than expected.
The title will be made available as part of a "field test" before the game's official release, and will effectively work as a Pokemon GO beta test. A limited number of users will be able to try out the game before launch, with an aim to get vital feedback to try and improve the title before it is made available to the public. Apparently, this test is going to roll out very soon.
As of this moment, the field test of this Augmented Reality mobile Pokemon title, which was revealed last year and is under development by Niantic, is only going to be made available in Japan. However, the team behind Pokemon GO suggests that the testing will be brought out to other countries around the world "in the weeks to come." Right now, there are no other details other than that, but Western Pokemon fans might be able to see the game a little earlier than originally planned.
This field test might also be the first chance for Pokemon fans to learn more about the project, too. Many were expecting a thirty minute presentation on the game at the Game Developers Conference, but this talk was cancelled without any explanation. Those interested in the title were hoping to learn more about exactly how Pokemon GO's gyms and live events would work, so news of the cancellation was a disappointment for some.
Overall, however, the Pokemon fandom has plenty of reasons to be excited over the coming year. Alongside Pokemon GO, the gaming community is going to receive two new main series games in the form of Pokemon Sun and Moon, whilst fighting spin-off Pokken Tournament is also set for release. Meanwhile, the classic original games Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow have seen re-release on the 3DS Virtual Console.
Where Pokemon GO stands in relation to the rest of the games remains to be seen, but the idea of an Augmented Reality mobile title based around Pokemon is certainly an interesting one. With developer Niantic getting a $30 million dollar investment from Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, and Google, many are expecting big things of the game. Let's hope that it delivers on its promise when it sees release.
Pokemon Go is expected to launch in 2016 for iOS and Android.