Pokémon Masters Wants You to Make Friends With More Than Just Pokémon

Releasing this summer, team up with iconic characters to once again prove you’re the very best

The Pokémon Company and DeNA took to a Direct-style presentation to provide some small details about their upcoming mobile game, Pokémon Masters. Along with announcing a release date sometime in Summer 2019, producer Yu Sasaki outlined the world and gameplay of this newest pocket monsters pocket experience.

The idea for Pokémon Masters apparently started with a sentiment expressed by longtime designer Ken Sugimori. He wanted to create a game where players were encouraged to befriend trainers as much as Pokémon. The team must have taken it to heart because Masters is all about meeting familiar faces and creating teams who can lead you to victory. Brock, Misty and Erica from the Kanto Region were prominently featured, but we also recognized trainers (heroes and villains) from throughout the series’ history. 

The game takes place on the “artificial island” of Pasio, though what artificial means in this context isn’t yet clear. Was the island man-made, or is it fabricated from artificial materials? Regardless, the island is hosting a competition the requires teams of three trainers to collect badges as proof of their skill before entering a grand championship. 

Team composition marks a major divergence from past games. Each trainer, including the player character, will only have one partner Pokémon. These are called sync pairs in the game. You will battle and befriend gym leaders, rivals, friends and other notable characters from past games, with the chance to add them to your roster. How that works and who all will be available wasn’t part of today’s presentation.

Battle mechanics is another major change in Masters. Instead of PP, moves use a resource that builds in real time during battle. The more powerful the attack, the more of that resource is required, providing a tactical layer beyond the typical rock-paper-scissors type matchup. Additionally, trainers have the honor of using support moves during battle, like buffing Pokémon or restoring the HP via healing moves. Sync moves, with gratuitous names like Thunder of Newfound Passion, likely take the place of Z-moves, Mega Evolution and other generation-specific battle features.

Sasaki stated during the presentation that Pokémon Masters is their attempt to broaden the appeal of Pokémon. The simplified battle system and rumoured gacha-style method for unlocking trainers are key components of that desire. Nothing in the promotional material showed implementation of premium currency or an energy/stamina gauge that limits sustained play. But we will have to wait and see when Pokémon Masters drops on mobile devices sometime this summer.

About Chase Carter

Chase is a journalist and media scholar interested in fan communities and how they communicate. He loves reading, cooking and his two cat sons very much.
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