Update 5/31/18 @ 1:30 AM PT: Added Poke Ball Plus price and details in the Poke Ball Plus section; more information on a “special, new Pokemon” that will appear, details on Pokemon with hats, and more in the Pokemon Go Connectivity section; partner Pokemon evolution details, Pokemon availability, HM details, Pokemon storage box changes, handheld controls, online features, and more in the Gameplay section.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee were officially revealed by The Pokemon Company and Nintendo today. The pair of Pokemon games are coming to the Nintendo Switch on November 16 and are not considered part of the “core series” of Pokemon games, though they share many core series features. These aren’t the Pokemon games teased during last year’s E3, but that game, a core series Pokemon RPG, is scheduled for the back-half of 2019.
As rumored, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee share elements from both Pokemon Go and the core series, like the original Pokemon Red and Blue (Green in Japan), and the more recent Pokemon Sun and Moon. Let’s Go takes place in Kanto and is directly inspired by, and essentially a reimagining, of 1998’s Pokemon Yellow. The first generation of Pokemon from Pokemon Go will be transferable via Bluetooth to these Nintendo Switch games.
Notably, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee will feature an all new Pokemon that hasn’t been seen before.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee are able to be controlled by just one Joy-Con with the help of motion controls, or a new accessory to be launched this year: the Poke Ball Plus. The new titles will also feature drop-in couch co-op, and Pokemon in the overworld instead of random encounters. Poke Ball Plus will be released on the same day as the games for 4980 yen in Japan (pricing outside to be announced later).
“This game brings the intuitiveness of catching Pokemon that we saw in Go that millions of fans experienced, and we bring that into a core RPG Pokemon experience, obviously with updated graphics,” Elvin Gee, marketing manager of The Pokemon Company International, said in a presentation attended by IGN.
Longtime Pokemon director, producer, and composer Junichi Masuda, who is directing Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, said he was inspired to make these games not only by the success of Pokemon Go, but by the many children who may not have been able to enjoy it alongside everyone else.
“For our first entry on the Nintendo Switch, I really wanted to do something more kind of simplified, something that really anyone could enjoy,” Masuda said. “I think the reason for this is to get more Switches into the hands of younger kids and more casual players, not just players who are really interested in hardcore games or are really gamers first and foremost.”
Gee said “Everything about [Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee], from the controls, to the design, the art, is made so that it’s ideal to be your first step into [the Pokemon] franchise.”
Here are all of the details we know about Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee so far.
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee Gameplay
On the surface, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee look like an overhauled, updated Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition. They take place in the Kanto region, and the map is “very close” to what it was in Pokemon Yellow.
Pokemon Let’s Go includes the original 151 Pokemon (plus their Alolan forms), but don’t expect newer evolutions – like Umbreon, Blissey, or Rhyperior – to make an appearance. Masuda also confirmed that we will not be visiting Johto in Let’s Go.
Battles against trainers remain the same as they are in the core series, but wild Pokemon encounters are entirely different.
In Pokemon Let’s Go, wild Pokemon will be seen roaming the world in real time, replacing random battles. When you touch one of these Pokemon, the encounter becomes nearly identical to a Pokemon Go encounter. The Pokemon will be on screen, giving you an opportunity to throw a Poke Ball to catch it, no battling involved.
It appears that some, if not all, of the mechanics from Pokemon Go are translated exactly into Let’s Go – as in, how well you throw the Poke Ball determines your chance of catching the Pokemon. It’s not much of a surprise, considering Masuda designed those Poke Ball-throwing gameplay mechanics for Pokemon Go.
When in this encounter, a Poke Ball can be thrown using the Joy-Con’s motion controls, or the Poke Ball Plus in the same way. The entire game can be controlled using just one Joy-Con, or just the Poke Ball Plus. When in handheld mode, you must use motion controls to aim the Poke Ball, but press a button to throw.
Trainer battles will be familiar to those who have played any core Pokemon game. They are classic, turn-based RPG battles, with each Pokemon having four moves to choose from.
Considering battling wild Pokemon is a common method to EV train Pokemon, we asked if effort values and individual values (hidden stats in the core Pokemon games) would make a return in Let’s Go. Masuda said “we wanted to make it more simplified,” and to “please wait for more details.” We did confirm there will be some differences in how you level up, raise, and train your Pokemon. Experience will still be earned by catching Pokemon and battling trainers, but other details were absent.
Though Pokemon from Pokemon Go can be transferred to Pokemon Let’s Go as long as they’re of the first generation, Masuda and The Pokemon Company had “no comment now” when asked if Let’s Go will be compatible with Pokemon Bank, or if Pokemon from Let’s Go will be transferable to the unnamed core series title coming in 2019.
Pikachu always accompanies its trainer on their shoulder, and Eevee always hangs out on its trainer’s head. Of course, Pikachu is your partner Pokemon in Let’s Go Pikachu, and Eevee will be your partner Pokemon in Let’s Go Eevee. Masuda said he and his team worked very hard to make these Pokemon as cute and expressive as possible, and are still working on this now. To make them even more adorable, you can dress them up with different outfits.
These special partner Pokemon will not be able to be evolved, but wild Eevee and Pikachu are available, which can be evolved. If you don’t like your partner Pokemon, you can always send it to the box.
The Pokemon box in this game is different, however. You will carry the “box” with you in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, allowing you to swap out your party on the go.
Alongside these partner Pokemon, a beloved feature from Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver also returns. Players will be able to choose a secondary Pokemon to follow along behind them as they explore, you can even ride on the backs of some of the larger Pokemon.
“At one point we had people ride on the backs of of smaller Pokemon, and we felt sorry for them,” Masuda said.
Proper Ride Pokemon, first introduced in Pokemon Sun and Moon, are yet to be confirmed – but Masuda assured us that no HMs will return in Pokemon Let’s Go. He understands that HMs have been a point of contention with players in the past.
Z-Moves and Mega Evolutions are unconfirmed as of now, but look for information on these in the future.
When asked if trading and battling is possible between Pokemon Let’s Go on Nintendo Switch, Masuda said, “Yes of course we have trading in the game. It’s one of the reasons we always have two versions.”
Version-exclusive Pokemon will exist in Let’s Go, like the many Pokemon games before it. Battling and trading are both available online and locally, but online ranked battles will not be available, and as for the Nintendo Switch Online service launching in August, Masuda said they “don’t have any plans to utilize the online service right now.”
Lastly, it’s unknown as of yet if customizable trainers will be featured in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee.
How Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee Co-Op Works
Two-player co-op, a never-before-seen feature for a Pokemon RPG, is available in Pokemon Let’s Go. A mark will appear on-screen that indicates two-player mode is available. Then, the second player just has to shake the opposite Joy-Con to drop in. This avatar will be the opposite of the main player’s avatar. So, if the main player is using a boy avatar, the second avatar will be a girl.
Once dropped in, the two players can roam the world, catch Pokemon, and battle against NPCs together, all on one shared screen. Even in the middle of a battle, a second player can shake the second controller and drop in to help.
Masuda expanded on how this mechanic works: “The bottom line… is that it really is to make the second player a support role. So the idea is that it’s the first player’s adventure. If you only have one Switch in the house and there are siblings, each sibling can start their own game.”
“This may not be a super great answer, but I don’t want to go into the exact mechanics of what happens if someone joins in mid-way,” Masuda said.
As part of his goal to make Pokemon Let’s Go share some qualities with Go, Masuda wanted to add an option to make it playable with parents, siblings, or friends, and this seemingly easy-to-use drop-in co-op option aims to accomplish that.
It seemed as though the second player shares the first-player’s Pokemon, and when battling, it becomes a two-on-one battle. When catching a Pokemon, the trailer showed that throwing Poke Balls at the same time would provide an extra bonus. For now, this is speculation based on the trailer and Masuda’s comments, and we don’t have specific details quite yet about how this mechanic works.
Pokemon Go Transfers and Connectivity to Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee
Any Pokemon that hails from the Kanto region (and their Alolan forms) will be transferable to Pokemon Let’s Go via wireless Bluetooth. This feature unlocks about “midway” through Pokemon Let’s Go.
Once a Pokemon from Pokemon Go is transferred to Pokemon Let’s Go, it will appear in the Pokemon Go Ranch, where it must be caught again. This mechanic will likely work somewhat like the Pokemon Transfer Lab used to transfer Pokemon between generation four and generation five, in that you will have unlimited tries to recapture a transferred Pokemon, but this is yet to be officially confirmed. If a Pokemon has been sent to Pokemon Let’s Go, it will be unable to return to Pokemon Go.
If a lot of Pokemon Go Pokemon are transferred to Pokemon Let’s Go, you will be able to play special mini-games and receive other benefits in both games, but no other details are known for now.
John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, said, “When trainers connect their Go and Switch accounts, they’ll be able to do more than just transfer Pokemon, but we want to save some surprises.
Masuda confirmed that if a Pokemon is Shiny in Pokemon Go, it will still be Shiny in Pokemon Let’s Go.
Masuda confirmed that if a Pokemon is Shiny in Pokemon Go, it will still be Shiny in Pokemon Let’s Go. Pichu, Pikachu, and Raichu with special hats will be unable to be transferred to Pokemon Let’s Go, as they’re a mark of a special celebration in Pokemon Go.
We don’t know how a Pokemon’s stats from Pokemon Go are treated when transferred, and are awaiting for information on if they will remain the same, or alter, when recaptured in Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee.
Though details were sparse, transferring a Pokemon from Pokemon Go to Let’s Go on the Nintendo Switch will enable you to send gifts to Pokemon Go, and allow you to meet a “special Pokemon” in Pokemon Go that is an “all new Pokemon that hasn’t been seen before.”
Poke Ball Plus Price and Details
The Poke Ball Plus is a new accessory that will be sold separately from Pokemon Let’s Go for 4980 JPY – this is about $45 USD, but the official price outside of Japan has yet to be revealed. It looks to fit easily in most hands and includes a wrist strap.
It functions fully as a Joy-Con, works as a Pokemon Go Plus, and is used to take any Pokemon from Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee with you on the go.
When carrying a Pokemon, the Poke Ball Go Plus will light up, make noise, and move. Masuda also said some other things will happen when carrying Pokemon, but he didn’t want to get into the details.
Masuda said his team worked especially hard on making use of the Joy-Con’s six gyro sensors to ensure it felt right when a Pokemon is caught, and this technology was transferred to the Poke Ball Plus. Basically, you should be able to feel the Pokemon rock “realistically” in the Poke Ball Plus when it’s caught.
That’s all we know about Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee for now. Check back to this page for more information as we obtain it. Make sure to also read about the just-announced Pokemon Quest and the mysterious core Pokemon RPG.
Casey DeFreitas is an Editor at IGN and teared up while watching the Pokemon Let’s Go trailer, because Pokemon makes her emotional. Catch her on Twitter @ShinyCaseyD.