Today’s Pokémon Presents presentation kicked off with an announcement nobody was expecting. A new Pokémon game called Pokémon Unite is coming to Switch and mobile devices, but in a strange turn of events, it’s a MOBA. The Pokémon Company has partnered with Tencent and TiMi Studios to bring this experience to life.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s hard not to have been exposed to MOBAs in the past. MOBA stands for “multiplayer online battle arena” and includes games such as Smite, League of Legends, and Dota 2 among others. In Pokémon Unite, players will team up with four others to take on a team of 5 in a strategic battle. To date, these teams of five are the largest seen on screen at once.
Starting at level 1, players will train their Pokémon by defeating wild encounters. As your Pokémon levels up, you can teach it new moves you can utilize to take on your enemies. Since you have control over which moves you learn, you can build your character how you want. At higher levels, you can also learn Unite Moves that are unique to this title, similar to ultimate moves in other MOBAs. This means that two of the same Pokémon can play pretty differently.
To win, you must capture wild Pokémon and bring them to one of your opponent’s control points to gain points. Whichever team has the most points at the end of the game wins. These goals can be destroyed, thus limiting your opponent’s ability to heal.
Pokémon Unite will feature cross-platform play between devices, so no matter where you are, you can join the battle. It will be free to start, and presumably there will be microtransactions for skins and character unlocks. There was no further release information given on Pokémon Unite at Pokémon Presents, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for more from the Pokémon Company, Tencent, and TiMi Studios.