While not quite the full Pokémon experience on a smartphone many have craved for years, Poké-fans can look forward to catching, training and battling in the online free-to-play strategy game Pokémon Co-Master, revealed by The Pokémon Company on Thursday (10 March).
Combining the traditional Pokémon gameplay with jinkouchinou (the Japanese word for artificial intelligence), Pokémon Co-Master is set for launch on the iOS and Android platforms in the spring, but only in Japan for now. Why do they always get the good stuff?
The strategy app is being developed by HEROZ, a company known in Japan for creating AI technology that competes in professional Japanese chess matches against human opponents. Although this is not HEROZ's first foray into smartphone games, having developed the similarly AI-powered Shogi Wars.
According to Kotaku, as well as assuming the role of foe in the strategic-battles, the AI has also been designed to guide newcomers, making the more complex aspects of the strategy game more approachable to beginners. It also explains the awkward title, although it still is not quite as off-putting as the horribly named Pokkén Tournament, the competitive Pokémon fighting game (in the Street Fighter vein) due for release on Wii U on 18 March.
You can sneak a look at the concept trailer for bizarre mash-up of genres below, although be warned, it contains images of tiny Pokémon Amiibo-like figures that you will inevitably want to buy as physical models.
Pokémon Co-Master launches in the same year that the Pokémon franchise is having a year-long celebration of its 20th Anniversary. IBTimes UK joined in on the festivities by ranking the top Pokémon of each generation and explored how the wildly popular RPG series began its journey to worldwide ubiquity.
The next chapter in the main Pokémon saga is set to continue in 2016 with Pokémon Sun and Moon for Nintendo 3DS.