On Wednesday the Pokémon GO team announced 50 new Pokémon originally discovered in the Hoenn Region would be making there way to the popular game for iOS and Android. The Hoenn region was introduced in the third generation of the Pokémon handheld video games (Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire); it included 135 new Pokémon total. The Pokémon GO team says the 50 new Pokémon will be available later in the week and that even more Pokémon from the region will be discovered over the next several weeks.
In addition to new Pokémon for players to discover and catch, a new dynamic weather system was also announced. Once enabled players will be presented with an updated map and new weather visual effects that will reflect the weather at the player’s real world location. In addition to the visuals, a small icon will indicate the weather conditions as well. The Pokémon GO team has shared images of six different weather conditions: Sunny, partly cloudy, rainy, windy, foggy, and snowy.
The new weather conditions aren’t just part of a visual update. Much like the handheld games weather will affect gameplay. For example, players will notice that water Pokémon are more likely to appear when it’s raining, and certain moves—such as Charizard’s Fire Spin—will deal more damage on sunny days.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Niantic (the company that develops Pokémon GO) chose to include weather conditions with the release of third generation Pokémon. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire also introduced weather conditions and the third generation Pokémon Castform changes form depending on the weather. Castform, known as the “weather Pokémon” is a normal type Pokémon that changes form and type depending on weather conditions. Castform has four forms: Normal, Sunny Form, Rainy Form, and Snowy Form. The respective types are normal, fire, water, and ice. This Pokémon’s Forecast ability lets it change form if the weather is sunny (described as “harsh sunlight” in the handheld games), raining, or hailing (this will likely be substituted with snowing in Pokémon GO). In addition, Castform knows the move Weather Ball which changes move-type and power depending on the current weather conditions.
According to The Verge the new weather feature will also change the way the game looks when playing using the augmented reality (AR) features of the game. Dynamic weather is expected to be released near the end of the year.
Pokémon GO, while still popular, has been struggling to keep players’ attention. Last month, around Thanksgiving, the game featured an event that gave players the chance to catch the region-exclusive Pokémon Farfetch’d. The generation three update introduces the most new Pokémon of any generation; this, combined with the new weather effects may be just what the game needs to build new momentum.