It may feel like a lifetime ago, but Niantic’s Pokémon Go was once the talk of the town in 2016. The immensely popular augmented reality game is still chugging on, but at a decidedly slower pace. Niantic’s looking to reinvigorate some of the lost engagement by way of a series of updates that will bring some serious improvements to gameplay and immersion.
The first of the changes, announced on the company’s Pokémon Go blog and in an ad, above, is the implementation of a dynamic weather system. Odds are that if it is raining or snowing in real life, it will be reflected in the game. It’s not just a cosmetic change either—this will affect the types of Pokémon available around you as well as the odds of finding certain pocket monsters as well. To take things further, weather will also play a role in how effectual some attacks are. For instance, Charizard’s flamethrower will be more effective on a sunny day, similar to how it works in the context of the handheld video games. “Rain or shine, winter or spring, your gameplay experience will remain fresh, making your time outdoors even more exciting,” the blog says about the weather improvements.
The next change, perhaps the bigger of the two, is that Hoenn-region Pokémon will be able to be caught starting later this week. Some of the first to be available will be the three Hoenn starters: Torchic, Treeko, and Mudkip. Over the next couple of weeks many more Hoenn Pokémon will become available, ultimately tallying up to 50 new creatures from the land that trainers explored in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
Pokémon Go celebrated its one-year anniversary in July and has since continued to implement new features to recreate the spark that made last summer such a frenzy. With their clear commitment to giving fans what they want and the drive to try out new features and find what works best, here’s hoping they succeed.