Pokémon Masters got a new preview trailer today and, while it was largely animated and teased the conceit of the game rather than the gameplay, a number of gameplay details emerged alongside it to suggest that better mobile Pokémon battles are coming this summer. Pokémon Masters is a new mobile game from developer DeNA, and will operate significantly differently from Pokémon GO, choosing to focus on a more solo-focused experience and more intricate battles as a result.
Pokémon is making a run at the mobile game market after the success of GO, and the result has been a number of announcements regarding games targeting different demographics of Pokémon fans. Pokémon Rumble Rush was announced a month ago to occupy a much more time-sensitive and frenetic Pokémon experience on mobile platforms, while Pokémon Sword & Shield will look to solidify the franchise's future on the Switch with the series' first mainline console title (although it will be portable thanks to the Switch's features). With mobile gaming becoming an increasingly large priority for a profitable portion of the consumer community, Pokémon Masters seems set up to spread Pokémon across several demographics without cannibalizing what's already been established.
That wasn't immediately obvious upon the game's initial announcement, but has become abundantly clear today. Several new details about the game to accompany its trailer. Pokémon Masters doesn't ask players to catch Pokémon themselves, but rather the famous Pokémon trainers who have populated the long-running anime series. Each trainer will bring a single Pokémon to battle in what's called "sync pairs." Misty will have Staryu, for example, while Brock will likely have either Geodude or Onyx. Players will create teams consisting of three sync pairs and battle with the aim of becoming the champion of the Pokémon Masters League, which will involve journeying across the game world of Pasio to collect badges in traditional Pokémon fashion. Here's the trailer, which helps build the story of Pokémon Masters up:
And here's the detailed trailer that helps break down what players can expect from the game:
Instead of Pokémon Masters focusing on traditional one-on-one battles in a turn-based environment, the game's battles will be real-time instead. During battle, a move gauge will slowly fill up that eventually allows Pokémon to activate their moves. Trainers will also have special moves as well in what appears to be a focus on support and healing roles. Pokémon Masters is planned for a summer 2019 release, which means it should be out in the next few months.
Pokémon Masters looks like an intriguing blend of the popular anime and a gatcha-style battler, and it could bring in a whole new demographic of Pokémon fans ready to join in the next mobile game craze. There's stiffer competition of late - Harry Potter: Wizards Unite struggled out of the gate with its launch despite being heralded as the next Pokemon GO - but riffing on a popular genre with a huge dose of nostalgia and fan favorites has rarely been an unsuccessful business proposition, and there's not much reason Pokémon Masters shouldn't be one of the most talked about games of the summer once it finally releases.