Niantic Previews Trainer Encounters In Pokémon GO

One of the most prominent aspects of the original Pokémon games that have not yet been fully incorporated into Pokémon GO is trainer encounters. In the main series games, the player journeys from town-to-town encountering not just wild Pokémon to battle and potentially catch, but also NPC trainers that are waiting to battle you. These trainers have been part of the franchise since the very beginning and have even had their impact on other media, just as the Trading Card Game, where certain "Trainer Classes," which is the means by which these NPCs are classified, appear on the cards such as Lass and Beauty. Niantic has begun incorporating NPC battles into Pokémon GO with their Team GO Rocket battles in 2019. This started with Grunt battles and has since expanded to encounters with Team GO Rocket leaders, the Team GO Rocket boss Giovanni, and, most recently, the iconic Rocket duo Jessie and James made famous by their encounters with Ash and Pikachu in the anime. However, trainers have not yet had the chance to battle… well, non-evil NPCs. Now, Niantic has announced that these battles will be featured for the very first time in their Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto event. Not only will encounterable trainers be introduced, but they are also running a contest that will end with actual players selected to become part of these map encounters. Ahead of the release of this new feature, Niantic previewed what these encounters will look like on the Pokémon GO Twitter page.

Trainer encounters in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Trainer encounters in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What remains to be seen about these encounters, though, is how they will end. Team GO Rocket encounters end with an item drop as well as a Pokémon encounter. Because Team GO Rocket is an evil organization that kidnaps and corrupts these creatures, the idea is that they have dropped one of their Shadow Pokémon and don't care to stick around to save them. The player can then catch the creature, essentially saving it. It would make less sense if an encounter with a trainer who isn't dastardly but just competitive ends with you catching their companion, so it'll be quite interesting to see how Niantic chooses to make these encounters worth the engagement.

As news comes in about this and all other aspects of Pokémon GO, Bleeding Cool will be on deck to report.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.