The world of augmented reality bellwether Pokémon Go is about to let a slew of new cutesy critters into its mobile, walkabout zoo. Developer Niantic and triumvirate The Pokemon Company just announced 80 new Pokémon will appear in the camera based catch-em-all sometime this week.
“More Pokémon have appeared in the real world,” reads the video tout tagline, sounding eerily like a third season of Les Revenants. But no, they’re just escapees from Pokémon series mainstay Game Freak’s Pokémon Gold and Silver handheld roleplaying games, including Johto region fan favs Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile.
Here’s one in a forest. There’s another on a mountain. Grab your hiking boots and take a stroll, or even a run, the ad beckons, wielding the innate promise of fitness and implicit better health as the totally appropriate and refreshing gameplay perk it is.
If you somehow missed the phenomenon when it broke last July, Pokémon Go uses your mobile device’s camera to map a fantasy world brimming with Charmanders, Squirtles, Weedles and more onto real-world locales. The catch is that you have to get up off your duff and ambulate to find, then catch them. “All,” to finish out the catchphrase, which is where things get serious.
More seriousness: The new update will add new trainer gameplay wrinkles to encounters, new “evolution” items (you can “evolve” your Pokémon over time), two new berries (one to slow a Pokémon’s movements and another to amp up catch rewards) and new outfits and accessories to garb your trainer in. It’s the latest feature collage for a game that, as I’m typing this, is the App Store’s 14th “top grossing” app, and Niantic founder John Hanke says the studio intends to keep updates like it rolling “for years to come.”