Early Tuesday morning, Nintendo sent out a press release detailing some new features in Pokémon Black and White. Japanese residents (as the few friends I have living there confirm) have been going Poke-nuts since this title released in the middle of last September.
The rest of the world has been waiting since. What is considered old news in Japan is brand new to the Western world. Nintendo has offered up three majorly interesting pieces of information for fans of the Pokémon series (including yours truly). Get ready to nerd out.
Pokémon Black and White will feature 150 new monsters and Triple Battles. Not double, no, triple. Players will take on other human opponents or trainers in three way bouts. Pokémon will be sent out as a pack rather than rolling one or two at a time. The resulting chaos will likely lead to new strategies and all sorts of nerd chatter in unlikely places. This is what happens when Pokémon fans grow up and get day jobs. Scary times.
More interesting, however, are the two new wireless modes of play. According to the release:
The new C-Gear device in Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version gives players an easier way to battle with others, and multiple ways of interacting with friends. Using IR Communication that’s built into the game card, players can quickly connect with friends to battle and trade Pokémon faster than ever before. Even exchanging Friend Codes is easier, with only a tap of the stylus needed to add them to your list. C-Gear also grants players a variety of game play and communication tools that utilize a local wireless connection and the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection service (broadband Internet access required). Players have the option to always utilize the C-Gear while playing, allowing for instant access to other players around them — even displaying what nearby players are doing in the game.
Another new feature in Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version is the Wi-Fi Random Matchup, which allows players to battle others from around the world over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service without needing to exchange Friend Codes, opening up even more opportunities for players to test their teams in battle.
If there’s one residual feature of Nintendo’s awkward online strategy that most gamers love to hate, it’s those damn Friend Codes. Across each system, Nintendo, for some crazy reason, chose to employ these stringy numbers constantly instead of a single username in order for players to hook up. Why? Probably to steer clear of falling under scrutiny where the safety of children in the online world is concerned.
Regardless, Pokémon Black and White is going to be huge for longtime fans. The game is slated to hit North American shelves on March 6th, 2011.