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The Pokémon Company has just announced Pokémon Unite for Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. It's a brand-new "strategic team-based battle game" from Chinese developer Tencent Games, and will be free-to-start.
Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara announced the game during today's Pokémon Presents broadcast alongside a trailer and first gameplay details. In essence, Pokémon Unite looks an awful lot like a League Of Legends-style MOBA. Except, you know, with more Pokémon and (hopefully) less toxic in-game chat logs.
Take a look at the trailer below for a better idea of how Pokémon Unite will work.
The strategy game will support two teams of five players as they fight it out with their Pokémon to control areas of the map. Players can earn points as they go by taking out opponents, as well as battling and capturing any wild Pokémon that appear on the map. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins. Obviously.
Monsters will start at level one at the beginning of every game, but you'll be able to level up your monsters. You can even evolve them and teach them news moves in the middle of each game. It seems like you'll really have to put some thought into the moves you learn and how your choices will complement the rest of your team. Leveling up enough will also let your Pokémon learn powerful "Unite" moves, which seem to work a lot like Ultimate abilities.
There are a number of confirmed playable Pokémon in the game so far. Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Machop, Snorlax, Haunter, Talonflame, Clefairy, Riolu, and all of their respective evolutions, will appear. Each will, of course, have their own strengths and weaknesses that you'll need to consider.
While it's not quite the Pokémon news a lot of us were hoping for today, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intrigued. A free-to-start Pokémon MOBA could be absolutely massive, especially if it really is as accessible and easy-to-learn as Ishihara suggested it is during the reveal.
Pokémon Unite is currently in development at Tencent's TiMi Studios, whose previous MOBA experience has been established through the popular Arena of Valor. There's no word on a release date just yet, but we'll keep an eye out for more news on this one.
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