Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are real, and coming to the Switch on November 16, Nintendo announced this evening, confirming previous leaks and rumors. These games will take players all the way back to Kanto region to collect the original 151 Pokémon, and they’ll feel very different than any Pokémon game we’ve seen. They’ll even have multiplayer.
Inspired by Pokémon Yellow, where series mascot Pikachu followed around the player character, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee will take place in Kanto, the region from the original Pokémon games for the Game Boy, and will feature the original 151 Pokémon. In each respective version of the game you’ll have either Pikachu or Eevee sitting on your player character’s shoulder or head. While these games are the first proper Pokémon games to come to the Switch, Nintendo also announced today that there is a “core” Pokémon game in development for the console, slated to come late 2019. Update - 10:15pm: The game will also feature a brand new Pokémon, and some Pokémon from the Alola region.
Nintendo will also be releasing a Poké Ball-shaped controller called the Poké Ball Plus for Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee. Players will able to use that controller to “bring one of their Pokémon with them as they explore the real world,” The Pokémon Company International said today in a press release.
“We took inspiration from and used the Pokémon Yellow Version as the base for these games,” Junichi Masuda, director at Pokémon developer Game Freak told reporters during a private presentation about the games last week. “Those games came after [Pokémon Red and Blue] and what they did was take those original games, and add a bunch of elements from the animated series, like Team Rocket and other characters, to better resonate with young kids. We knew we wanted to try out new gameplay ideas with this game, and wanted to find a version to add onto where it would make the most sense.”
Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee appear to be inspired by the mega-popular mobile game Pokémon Go, which became a cultural phenomenon when it launched in 2016. Players will use a single Joy Con’s motion controls to catch Pokémon by gesturing at the screen to throw a Poké Ball, similar to the way you catch Pokémon in Pokémon Go. Pokémon will also be displayed visibly on the map, so players will be able to choose which Pokémon they want to battle, rather than facing them in random encounters. Players will also be able to transfer any of the original 151 Pokémon from their Pokémon Go game to Let’s Go Pikachu or Eevee by using a bluetooth connection.
Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee will also have drop in, drop out co-op, a first for the series. “When you’re playing the game, you’ll see that there’s a kind of a mark indicating when a second player can join,” Masuda said. “It’s pretty much anytime you’re in the fields or on the routes or in battles for example. All you do is take a second Joy Con and shake it and the second player will to drop in and you’ll playing alongside your friends.”
Masuda, who has been involved with Pokémon games since the series started, is the director for Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. He also designed the screen-swiping motion for throwing Poké Balls to catch Pokémon in Pokémon Go, which he credits for “getting a much wider range of players of all ages to be able to enjoy the game.”
“With these games specifically, we’re trying to introduce these all new play styles,” Masuda said. “It’s really a much simplified experience compared to the traditional series. … At the same time, I think there’s going to be a lot for players who enjoyed the original games.”