Niantic has shared the first details about one of the “new and exciting” features coming to Pokémon Go. Similar to how characters in the television show have Pokémon that wander alongside them, you’ll soon have a Buddy Pokémon that explores the real world with you and provides bonuses.
Since launching in July, Pokémon Go has lacked major new features with Niantic instead focussing on general stability and worldwide expansion. Touted as the next addition to the game, users will be able to select a Buddy Pokémon to explore the augmented world with them.
Any monster from your collection can be selected and will appear alongside your Trainer avatar on the profile screen and next to your icon in the main screen of the app. Besides being cute, Buddy Pokémon will importantly provide helpful bonuses like “awarding Candy for walking together.”
The latter functionality will likely make the most noticeable difference in gameplay. Depending on the rewards, this could be a useful way to address criticism that the game gets harder to play at higher levels without in-app purchases.
If Niantic follows its usual two week update cycle, Buddy Pokémon should be coming to Android and iOS next Friday. There is still no word on when the updated Nearby tracker will be making its way to all users. The Pokémon GO Development Team hints that there is a “lot more in the works this fall.”