Here is an overview of the games, via The Pokemon Company:
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are the newest titles in the Pokemon series coming this fall to Nintendo Switch. Inspired by Pokemon Yellow, which was originally released on Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1999, these two titles are designed for players taking their first steps into the Pokemon video game world. Featuring an innovative connection to the popular Pokemon GO mobile game, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! promise plenty of enjoyment for both newcomers to the franchise and experienced players.
- Pikachu and Eevee — Explore the iconic Kanto region like never before. You can embark on your adventure together with Pikachu as your partner in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or choose Eevee as your partner when you play Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!
- Play in a whole new way — Experience intuitive controls by using your Joy-Con to throw Poke Balls at wild Pokemon you encounter. Need some help? Your friend can grab a second Joy-Con to join in on the fun and even boost the chances of catching Pokemon for the first-ever collaborative gameplay in a Pokemon RPG.
- Play even when on the GO — Connect your game for Nintendo Switch with the mobile game sensation Pokemon GO. Players can capture a Pokemon originally discovered in the Kanto region in Pokemon GO and transfer it into their Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! adventure.
- Have a ball — Take your Pokemon journey to a whole new level with the Poke Ball Plus. More than just a controller, the Poke Ball Plus features motion controls, lights up with a variety of colors, vibrates, and plays sounds. When catching a Pokemon in the game, you will be able to feel it moving within the Poke Ball Plus. The Poke Ball Plus also works as a Pokemon GO Plus for those playing Pokemon GO. Using the Poke Ball Plus, you can bring one of your Pokemon from Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! with you as you explore the real world, even when you’re not playing the game. Additionally, you can receive a variety of rewards once Pokemon are returned to the Nintendo Switch games. (Read more about the Poke Ball Plus at its official website.)
Here are some additional details from the Q&A session with The Pokemon Company and Game Freak following the official announcement:
If Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are based on Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition, will they have only the original 151 Pokemon? For example, will it not include more than the three original evolutions of Eevee?
Junichi Masuda (Game Freak director): In general, it’s the original 151, but as we just showed with Alolan Exeggutor, some of the Alolan variants will also appear.
With Pokemon appearing on the field and the catching gameplay being more similar to Pokemon GO, does that mean there are not any wild Pokemon battles?
Masuda: With these games, we’re really focused on clicking the Joy-Con to throw the Poke Balls to catch Pokemon. We decided to get rid of the wild Pokemon battles to catch them, but we still have Trainer battles with a variety of difficulty where you use your Pokemon in battle.
When you were choosing the Pokemon for the two titles, why did you choose Eevee as the other Pokemon along with Pikachu?
Masuda: One of the reasons for that is that in Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition, you start with Pikachu, and your rival begins with Eevee. So there’s that element. But really, over the years, I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion that fans have had for the character, including tons of fan art. I’ve always really loved the cuteness of Eevee.
And one thing that I didn’t know until recently is that fans have unofficially dedicated November 21 as Eevee’s special day. There’s a way to pronounce that date in Japanese that sounds like “Eevee.” It just seems like over the years, fans’ reaction and passion for Eevee really made me think that it was a popular enough Pokemon to serve as a counterpart to Pikachu.
How does the connection between Pokemon GO and the two Switch games work?
Shigeru Ohmori (Game Freak director): The games use Bluetooth LE to connect directly to each other.
At the end of the video introducing Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, there was some text that says you’ll meet a special Pokemon, and I’m just wondering if that means something different than the Alolan Exeggutor you just talked about?
Tsunekazu Ishihara (The Pokemon Company president): You were really paying attention to the details! I can say that the video is referring to an all-new Pokemon that will be appearing in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!
Will you be able to trade and battle with other players in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! via local wireless connection?
Masuda: These games will definitely have the wireless trading and battle features that have existed in Pokemon games up to now. You will, of course, need two Nintendo Switch consoles to do that kind of gameplay.
Now that these games are on Nintendo Switch, it’s possible for multiple accounts to use the same device. Can multiple people play the same game? Or will it be similar to the handheld games where you can have only one player per game?
Ohmori: You can have multiple accounts on the Nintendo Switch, so each account can have its own save file. For example, if you have siblings they can play on their own accounts.
Nintendo has recently announced that the company will begin its online gaming service this September. Will Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! use this service?
Ishihara: We don’t have any plans to use this online service right now.
With the 2019 game that you also mentioned, will these be an upgraded version of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!—similar to Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon—or something different?
Ishihara: They’ll actually be different games as all-new Pokemon series entries, kind of like how Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, and then Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, were new games within the main series.
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are coming to Nintendo Switch, as opposed to dedicated handheld game systems [that typically host Pokemon RPGs]. Nintendo Switch is seen more as a home console; what drove you toward the decision to develop on this new system?
Ishihara: At Pokemon, we really view Nintendo Switch as more of a combination of a handheld and home console system. It has the features of both, and we hope to take what was good with the handheld system and expand on it. That’s why we’re excited to bring the games to Nintendo Switch.
You just mentioned the games coming out in 2019, and obviously we’re very excited. Is there anything else you can tell us about these new games?
Ishihara: I can’t really say much more than what we’ve already talked about today. But what I can say is that Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! focus on the home console gameplay experience, but the games next year will focus more on handheld features and gameplay experience.
Obviously, we’ve seen there are many ways to enjoy Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! if you’re a Pokemon GO player. Are there incentives for Pokemon GO players who don’t have a Nintendo Switch to go out and pick one up to play these games?
Masuda: I think one of things that will be a lot of fun is for kids who might not be able to play Pokemon GO on their own. Maybe they don’t have their own smartphone—they can play with their parents or older sibling, but they’re not able to play on their own. So perhaps players who are playing Pokemon GO can catch Pokemon and send them over to Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! The kids can then raise those Pokemon on their own and get a variety of Pokemon that way.
I can also say that we have some ideas that will benefit Pokemon GO players who are interested in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and vice versa. So if you’re playing both, there will be good things that happen in both games.
In Pokemon Quest, will you be able to share game data between the Nintendo Switch version and the smartphone version?
Ishihara: There’s no shared data between the two versions. They’re entirely separate titles so there’s no sharing between the two.
Will Pokemon Quest require an active Internet connection to play at all times?
Ishihara: An Internet connection is not required to play either version of the game.
This kind of follows on the earlier question about how Nintendo Switch overlaps between a handheld and home console device. What is it that you found appealing about developing for the platform? And will the games going out in 2019 take advantage of the functionality available on Nintendo Switch?
Ishihara: It’s kind of an open secret from talks with games media, and I have to apologize to Nintendo, but at the time I was definitely skeptical about whether Nintendo Switch would be successful. But really thanks to amazing games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild that drove hardware sales, I really felt Nintendo Switch was a good platform.
But of course, since Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! are coming out this year, that means we’ve been working on them for a little while now. So we definitely had this feeling that we would be able to help drive this platform and increase its sales. So there’s that aspect that made us work harder to succeed.
We also saw this as an opportunity to make a Pokemon RPG for everyone, and provide another Pokemon game for those who started with Pokemon GO looking for somewhere to continue their adventure. We looked at this as a really interesting challenge to put Pokemon on a home console and see what we could do with the experience.
Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! represent our take on what the home console experience will be. I think you’ll see with games coming out in 2019, we’ve seen how people use Nintendo Switch as a handheld device and we want to see what our take on the Pokemon handheld experience on Nintendo Switch will be.
Does that mean that you’ve been developing these games since before Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017?
Ishihara: Yes, of course. Game development does take quite while!
We saw that the Poke Ball Plus lights up and makes sounds. What are your future plans for this device? Do you have plans to use it in other ways?
Masuda: The Poke Ball Plus development really started after the Pokemon GO Plus came out. We started thinking about what the best Pokemon accessory would look like and feel like. We began talking with Nintendo’s hardware team, and they came up with the idea of creating the ultimate Poke Ball for players to have, and then we started talking about what that actually means. Of course, in the ultimate Poke Ball you would have to have Pokemon that go inside it. That’s kind of how we got started.
Being the ultimate device for Pokemon games, I do think we’ve shown some of the versatility of it in that you can use it with both Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! as a controller, and also as a Pokemon GO Plus with Pokemon GO.
And, of course, we’ve mentioned that you can put a Pokemon from your game into the Poke Ball Plus and walk around with it. There are some cool things that will happen, but I can’t say more about them today.
And here are even more details from a second Q&A session with Game Freak director Junichi Masuda:
- 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. (via)
- You will not be able to evolve your special partner Pokemon, but you can catch a wild Eevee or Pikachu, which can be evolved. You can also send your partner Pokemon to the box. (via)
- The Pokemon box works differently in these games. You will carry the “box” with you, allowing you to swap out your party on the go. (via)
- 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. (via)
- HMs will not return. (via)
- Z-Moves and Mega Evolutions are currently unconfirmed. (via)
- “Yes of course we have trading in the game,” Masuda said. It’s one of the reasons we always have two versions.” Version-exclusive Pokemon exist in each game. Batting and trading are available both online and locally, but online ranked battles will not be available. As for the Switch Online service launching in September, Masuda said they “don’t have any plans to utilize the online service right now.” (via)
- It is unconfirmed whether players will be able to customize their trainers. (via)
- You will earn EXP from catching Pokemon and trainer battles. (via)
- They have yet to lock down how EXP from capturing Pokemon and trainer battles will be distributed (evenly, per Pokemon etc.). (via)
- The controls for catching Pokemon in handheld mode will have you moving the console around and pressing a button to throw. There are no touch screen controls, and using the gyro functionality is required. (via)
- The map of Kanto will be very similar to the original landmass, but there will be graphical differences. You will not go to Johto. (via)
- Although there are some Alolan forms of Pokemon in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, there are otherwise no connections between it and Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. (via)
- Candy from Pokemon GO will not not have any effect in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! Masuda was not able to say whether you will be able to transfer Pokemon from the Switch games and turn them into candy. (via)
- Event Pokemon from Pokemon GO cannot be transferred to Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee! (via)
Watch the announcement trailer below. View the first screenshots at the gallery. Visit the official website here. Visit the Nintendo.com game pages here: Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! / Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!