As San Diego Comic-Con serves as the veritable mecca of geek culture, it’s only natural that this year’s fest should close out with a panel devoted to what is perhaps the biggest thing to hit the nerding world in 2016: Pokémon GO. The exhibit packed Hall H with aspiring PokéMasters aching to glean a few tips from Niantic Labs’ head John Hanke, who did not disappoint. Well, with the exception of one sizeable letdown. But rest assured, useful pointers and exciting news alike were to be heard.
Chatting with our own Chris Hardwick, Hanke confirmed what many of us already knew: different types of Pokémon inhabit different parts of our real world, and—to some degree—correlate logically with their surroundings’ natural environment. The most obvious example of this is the prevalence of water-type Pokémon in close range to actual bodies of water. (I can confirm, living right on the bank of New York City’s East River, that we’ve got a boatload of Krabbys roaming about.)
Hanke did drop a few more surprising pearls of wisdom, however, as he insisted that several Easter eggs lurk about the world Pokémon GO that no active players have yet to find. (You’d think ONE of the millions of us would have nabbed these by now, right? Come on, guys.) Especially notable among these hidden gems is one involving Eevee, pertinent to the secret behind controlling the direction of its evolution into either Flareon, Jolteon, or Vaporeon. Hanke confirmed that the hack that’s been theorized around the ‘net is indeed legit.
Eventually, Hanke found his way to the good news yet to grace the game. In addition to toiling over fixing the three-step glitch—the very same that has been afflicting my gameplay, so I’ll thank them to hurry up on this!—Niantic is working on adding a few additional functions to Pokémon GO.
First off, the customization of PokéStops for operation among friends and teammates. Secondly, the addition of new, rare types of Pokémon that have thus far been absent from the game—something we’ve all been looking forward to for sure. Additionally, the customizing PokéStops thing will give you the ability to mod PokéStops.
Next, Team Leaders—captains of Teams Valor, Mystic, and Instinct, who may operate a bit like the gym leaders we knew in the traditional Pokémon games. Valor will be led by a character named Candela, Mystic by Blanche, and Instinct by Spark.
Finally, and perhaps most exciting of all: The option to trade Pokémon will soon be implemented into Pokémon GO. No longer will you have to scrape together airfare to snag those rare species exclusive to Myanmar; just make a Burmese friend via the good graces of Reddit, and you’ll have your hands on your desired type in no time!
The one big disappointment came with the revelation that no legendary Pokémon would be set loose in Hall H. Still, enough good news was shared to keep us gaming and looking forward to updates.
Featured Image: The Pokémon Company
Images: Michelle Buchman