Pokémon Unite sees the world of Pokémon branch out into yet another genre of the gaming world in what is the franchise’s first MOBA title.
Announced during the Pokémon Presents broadcast on June 24, 2020 Pokémon Unite will be a “free-to-start” 5v5 League of Legends-style team-based strategy game developed by The Pokémon Company and Chinese gaming giant Tencent’s TiMi studios . This is the same brain behind another popular MOBA title, Arena of Valor, as well as the creators of Call of Duty: Mobile. The main premise of the game is to bank more points than the other team in the game’s designated scoring zones, while also being able to take on opposition players in battle. Like in the main games, your Pokémon can evolve and learn new moves as you level up throughout a game.
With popularity around MOBA’s and mobile games in general being at an all-time high, now is the ideal time to expand the Pokémon universe into this genre.
While details are limited at the moment, here’s what we know so far about Pokémon Unite.
Pokémon Unite release date
Pokémon Unite will be coming to Nintendo Switch on July 21, 2021, and mobile in September 2021.
As an extra treat, Nintendo Switch players can also unlock Zeraora for a limited time post-launch, by logging into the game before August 31, 2021.
The game’s official Twitter account has also noted that mobile players will be able to snag the zappy feline at a later date, presumably when the game launches on that platform.
Pokémon Unite was announced on June 24, 2020 during a Pokémon Presents broadcast by the game’s producer Masaaki Hoshino.
Pokémon Unite platforms
Pokémon Unite will be a cross-platform game and will release on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as the Nintendo Switch.
Is Pokémon Unite coming to PC?
Pokemon Unite will not be available on PC when it launches. Tencent hasn’t yet commented on its availability post-launch.
Pokémon Unite trailer
You can check out the Pokémon Unite release date trailer here.
The first official trailer for Pokémon Unite can also be seen below.
Pokémon Unite gameplay
Exact details around Pokémon Unite’s gameplay are still a little sketchy, but we got a pretty good look at what to expect during the game’s reveal.
In basic terms, it is like the majority of MOBAs out there. It has two teams of five with different attacks and abilities going head to head on a multi-laned map. But there are a few differences from the likes of Dota 2 or League of Legends.
The main objective isn’t to destroy an enemy base. It is to score more points than the opposition by banking points you’ve earned in one of the five scoring areas on the opposition’s side of the map. Points are earned through catching wild Pokémon which appear across the map and need defeating to capture.
However, the enemy team can decide to engage you in battles, either to guard their scoring zones, slow down your efforts in racking up points, or to distract from another player sneaking into a scoring zone.
Scoring zones also act as healing areas. Returning to one of your own zones will regenerate some of your health.
Scoring enough points in a certain zone will destroy it. Currently we don’t know what the limit is, but this gives players less places to score and heal as the game goes on.
Points scored in the last two minutes of a game are doubled, meaning games can be pulled back from the brink if your team can bank enough points in the final stages.
In terms of your Pokémon, it will always start each game at level 1 in its lowest evolutionary form, so Charizard players will always begin as Charmander, for example. Defeating wild Pokemon will increase your level and at certain levels you will evolve.
As you level up, you will also acquire new moves. Type effectiveness is not present in Pokémon Unite, but each Pokémon has “unique traits and abilities” and will have exclusive move pools of different attacks. Moves have varying power and range, and you have three slots for regular moves, so it will probably be wise to pick a mixture of long and close range abilities for your game.
Each Pokémon also has a signature Unite Move, which is essentially its ultimate. This is a big move that deals a lot of damage to any nearby Pokémon.
The demonstration match shown in the Pokémon Presents broadcast, lasts for ten minutes. Whether this will still be the case when the game launches is unclear.
As of March 2021, there have been some gameplay leaks from the Canadian beta, which give a glimpse of Pokémon Unite in action.
Pokémon Unite map
The map in Pokémon Unite is different from the classic square, three-laned MOBA map you’ll find in the likes of League of Legends or Arena of Valor.
The map is essentially oval in shape, with only a top and bottom lane. Top and bottom lanes are connected with three vertical lanes. The five scoring zones on each side live on the two main lanes, with two on top, two on bottom, and one where the two lanes meet beneath the opposition’s spawn.
In Pokémon Unite, you will always play from left to right. Your team will always spawn on the left of the map, and the enemy team on the right.
The trailer announcing Pokémon Unite’s release date also showed a map that was set in a large stadium. While the layout was the same, it looked very different from the remote island vibe shown in the game’s first trailers. It’s not clear if this will be the only map, or both variations will be in the game.
Pokémon Unite characters
A number of fan-favourite Pokémon were shown during the Pokémon Unite reveal and subsequent trailers.
According to the official Pokémon Unite site, the characters are:
- Zeraora (can be unlocked on Switch by logging in before August 31)
- Venusaur (plus Bulbasaur and Ivysaur)
- Charizard (plus Charmander and Charmeleon)
- Machamp (plus Machop and Machoke)
- Gengar (plus Gastly and Haunter)
- Talonflame (plus Fletchling and Fletchinder)
- Slowbro (plus Slowpoke)
- Eldegoss (plus Gossifleur)
- Crustle (plus Dwebble)
- Alolan Ninetails (plus Alolan Vulpix)
- Mr Mime
- Garchomp (plus Gible and Gabite)
- Greninja (plus Froakie and Frogadier)
- Cinderace (plus Scorbunny and Raboot)
Others that were previously seen but are not listed on the site include:
- Blastoise (plus Squirtle and Wartortle)
- Clefable (plus Clefairy)
- Gardevoir (plus Ralts and Kirlia)
Wild Pokemon that have been spotted in Pokémon Unite footage (and leaked footage) so far include:
- Vespiquen (plus Combee)
Legendary bird Zapdos seems to be a boss of sorts – researcher Erbie tells you that “knocking out Zapdos makes it easier for your team to score.” However, you’ll need your full team to help knock out the legendary Pokémon.
POKéMON UNITE Leaks
Leaked footage of Pokémon Unite from the Chinese beta was uploaded to YouTube on January 15. Although it has now been taken down, the community were quick to make some notes on what we can expect from the game when it drops.
It appears that players will be able to customise both their trainers and their Pokémon over the course of a game. It is not yet known whether skins will be locked behind a paywall, though.
First Pokemon UNITE skins. https://t.co/lYqhnGUC6a
— Centro LEAKS (@CentroLeaks) January 15, 2021
That’s all we know so far about Pokémon Unite, but stay tuned – we’ll update this guide as soon as we have more information on this exciting new MOBA.