While many Pokemon fans are eagerly awaiting the upcoming Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes, there’s another intriguing title that’s coming out before then: the franchise’s first-ever MOBA game, Pokemon Unite.
Developed in partnership with Tencent’s TiMi Studio Group, the game will see trainers travel to Aeos Island and take part in 5v5 Unite Battles, collect Aeos energy to evolve mid-fight, and see who can earn the most points before the time runs out.
Although Unite is coming to Switch in July and mobile devices in September, many trainers are still unsure whether the game will be worth their while – and whether the premium Battle Pass will be worth throwing their money down for.
We’ve put together five major features that The Pokemon Company and Tencent will need to add to the game to make it’s a success with players, from filling out that Pokedex to the introduction of playable Legendaries.
1. An expanded and diverse Pokedex
Right now, there are 19 playable Pokemon (as well as their evolutions) confirmed for Pokemon Unite at launch. While most of the creatures you would expect to see are accounted for, such as Charizard, Lucario, and Pikachu, most hardcore Pokemon fans will be hoping for less common (and more recent) additions to the Pokedex.
With almost 900 Pokemon available to choose from, let’s hope Tencent keeps filling out the roster with future updates, or things could get stale fast.
2. Regular updates
That brings us to our second point – regular updates. Any game that relies on a sizeable and active player base will live or die based on how often new content gets added, so this is a really important one.
Ideally, Tencent and The Pokemon Company will go for the same approach that other popular multiplayer games like Warzone and Apex Legends have taken, giving seasonal updates every couple of months with a bunch of new content like fighters and stadiums for players to enjoy, rather than sporadically drip-feeding smaller additions like Pokemon Go does.
3. No pay-to-win features
While some gamers are critical of the Battle Pass, it’s most likely this monetized system that’s keeping the game free-to-play. It also has the potential to make Unite way more engaging, with cute costumes for both trainers and Pokemon being an obvious highlight.
Still, the important thing here is that the Battle Pass remains optional and doesn’t include ‘pay-to-win’ items that will give players an advantage, especially as there are plenty of younger Pokemon fans who won’t be able to shell out every month for premium features.
4. Playable Legendaries
It’s going to be hard to introduce playable Legendaries to Unite without them being overpowered, but it would also be a shame for them to not be available at all. After all, one of the most exciting parts of any Pokemon game is hunting down Legendary creatures, and a steady introduction through special events would definitely help keep trainers interested.
Right now, it looks as though they’ll appear as powerful boss fights but they won’t be playable. Niantic have actually done a great job at introducing Legendaries in Pokemon Go, so Unite should take notes from them.
5. An entirely new Pokemon
One of the most ambitious ways Pokemon Unite could become a success with gamers is to introduce an entirely new Pokemon through a special event.
That might be controversial to some fans, and it also might seem highly unlikely, but The Pokemon Company have shown that they’re willing to break tradition in the past by introducing Melmetal through Pokemon Go. Doing something similar with Unite could actually be a great teaser for any new creatures that may appear in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.
Whether Pokemon Unite can reach the heights of Pokemon Go or if it’s destined to be a more niche release like Pokemon Cafe remains to be seen, but implementing these features should definitely help keep players happy in the long run.