The Pokémon Company announces Pokémon Co-Master for Japanese smartphones

The Pokémon Company will publish Pokémon Co-Master, a figurine-powered board game for smartphones in Japan this Spring, the company announced Thursday.

Made in collaboration with Japanese AI-maker Heroz, which specializes in digital versions of board games such as Shoji and Go, C0-Master will be a free-to-play online board game where players use Pokémon-themed tokens: According to Kotaku, the game will feature some form of Pokémon’s core RPG elements, including training and battling. The name, “Co-Master,” refers to the fact that both players will receive strategic aid from the game’s AI, though it isn’t exactly clear how they will work together.

The game will not be published by Nintendo directly — The Pokémon Company is a co-owned subsidiary of Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures — and will not be a part of the company’s slate of smartphone games. Nintendo announced in 2015 that it planned to release five smartphone apps by April 1, 2017. The first of them, the Miiverse-style chat app Miitomo is on track to launch in Japan March 17. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima told investors its second smartphone app will “not be a communications device” and would feature an IP “very well known to everyone” during an earnings report in February, 2016.

Pokémon Co-Master is the latest in a seemingly ever-growing list of games set to come out during the Pokémon series’ 20th anniversary year. Last month, Nintendo re-released Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow on the Nintendo 3DS eShop in North America, and announced a pair of fully fledged sequels, Pokémon Sun and Moon, will hit stores worldwide this holiday season. Nintendo and Tekken publisher Namco Bandai will also release their Pokémon-centric fighting game, Pokkén Tournament, March 18.

Pokémon Co-Master will come to iOS and Android in Japan in Spring, 2016. There are currently no announced plans for an international release.

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