Pokémon fans! You’re getting not one, but two mobile games to play! In addition to the previously announced Pokémon Go, a new figure-based game called Pokémon Ko-Master is on the way! Though the field testing for the first game isn’t even underway, this new free-to-play game from The Pokémon Company will be in your hot little hands before the end of spring 2016.
There is a video tease out which gives you an idea of what we’re going to be obsessed with in a few months. The Ko in the name is short for the Japanese words for Artificial Intelligence, jinko chino. The Pokémon Company is teaming up with Japanese AI developer HEROZ. According to the official announcement, the company has created programs that beat professional shogi players, like their smartphone app Shogi Wars. Sort of like the computer programs that beat professional chess players and will someday take over the world. Let’s hope our robot overlords are kind.
So, here’s what we know: Players will have a “deck,” though they won’t be cards on the screen. They’ll be on-screen figures of your pocket monsters. The game is reportedly a bit like chess, which would make sense considering the look of the figures. The announcement said that you can build your deck by collecting characters. Will this mean you’re about to lose even more money collecting them all? Forget Skylanders, Disney Infinity characters and Amiibos. Or, at the very least, slide them over on the shelf a bit. Maybe get some top ramen from the dollar store because that’s all you’ll be able to afford.
There is also a sort of soccer element as you’re supposed to reach your opponent’s goal area. Now, I’m reading the announcement through Google translate, but it appears that the idea of the A.I. is to make it seem like your pocket monster can think for itself. You can read it right here.