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Pokémon Presents event begins and ends with Pokémon Unite

The Pokémon Company held another Pokémon Presents event on Wednesday, just a week after it made several major announcements. Only, this time, it had just one thing to share.

The company’s Wednesday event centered on its first Pokémon team battle game called Pokémon Unite. The game, which The Pokémon Company developed with Chinese tech conglomerate and frequent gaming investor Tencent, will be available on the Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. Unite will feature cooperative team battles, allowing two teams with five Pokémon to take each other on.

In the battle arena, teams on each side and will have five “scoring areas,” where people will need to capture Pokémon to score points. Whichever team scores more points in the time limit wins, though the last minute may prove most important: All points scored during that period are doubled.

Pokémon Unite also features a level-up system that will make Pokémon better fighters and help them learn more moves, including Unite moves that are unique to each character. The Pokémon Company didn’t share a full list of characters, but gameplay footage showed Pikachu, Charizard, Lucario, and others. The game is also an important departure from traditional Pokémon games that feature direct battles between characters and type bonuses, which aren’t included in this title. There also doesn’t appear to be any storyline.

The Pokémon Company said the game is designed to make teamwork a central component in the title. It also encourages players to think strategically about how to engage the other team in battle while capturing points. Although the company plans to share more details soon, it clearly aims at capitalizing on the popularity of Dota 2 and League of Legends.

Indeed, Tencent’s TiMi Studios is well-known for capturing the attention of players around the world with games like Honor of Kings. The company also helped to develop the similarly popular Call of Duty: Mobile. Given Pokémon’s popularity in the U.S., and TiMi’s success worldwide, Pokémon Unite could be a hit, Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

“TiMi is a strong partner with a proven track record in self-developed IP (Honor of Kings) and Partner IP (Call of Duty: Mobile), both of which are hits,” Ahmad tweeted. “It’s early days for the game, no release date yet, but if Tencent/TiMi get this right, then we could have another hit from them.”

The Pokémon Company held a Pokémon Presents event last week, where it unveiled a variety of new games and apps, including a mobile app that helps kids improve their tooth-brushing skills called Pokémon Smile. The company also announced plans to launch New Pokémon Snap, a follow-up to the wildly popular Pokémon Snap from the Nintendo 64, on the Nintendo Switch. Another game called Pokémon Cafe Mix, which launches on Thursday, is a mobile and Switch game that lets players run a café for Pokémon.

That event stood in stark contrast to the Pokémon Presents event The Pokémon Company held on Wednesday. Indeed, a caption for the Pokémon Presents livestream said the company had “more” to show. But unlike last week’s event, this time around, the company only unveiled Pokémon Unite.

Pokémon Unite will be available as a free-to-play game on both mobile and Switch and will feature cross-play support when it launches. The Pokémon Company said it will share a launch date and other details at some point in the future.

Updated at 7:08 a.m. PT to include more details on today’s event.

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Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. He has been writing about the world of…
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