Pokemon Go introduce new 'buddy system' with their latest update
It might just be us, but it feels as though the Pokemon Go hype train has slowed down a bit recently.
Users fumed when a recent update reportedly made it more difficult to catch even the most useless Pidgey in the wild, and while the relatively new appraisal feature - where a team leader offers feedback on the Pokemon you catch - gave way to some fantastically puerile memes, it's not going to save the smash shit smartphone game's ever-so-slightly dwindling audience numbers.
But it sounds like Niantic have an ace up their sleeve, as they plan to introduce a new so-called "Buddy System" in an upcoming patch.
According to Pokemon Go Hub, the update, which is expected to land in the next few weeks, has been data-mined - uncovering that trainers will be able to "bond" with their Pokemon of choice.
The game will again employ its step-counting system, rewarding you with candy as you plod along with your new pal. That means you can go back to the adorable starter Pokemon you chose and have subsequently ignored ever since, and level it up just by having it alongside you. It gives the game a more personal touch.
Pokemon Go Hub unfortunately report that while you can walk the same Pokemon Buddy multiple times, you can't walk more than one at the same time - at least for now. We had visions of watching our avatar prowl the streets of London with an entire Pokemon posse behind him, but you can't have everything.
Depending on what Buddy you choose, the game will presumably employ a different animation on-screen. The categories are: medium size, big size, flying next to you, and resting on your shoulder.
This new hook could be the freshen-up the game needed, and a great reason to start ignoring your actual friends again.