The head of Niantic provided an informative timeline for two of Pokemon Go's most requested features.
In an interview with the Tiawanese magazine Business Weekly, Niantic CEO John Hanke spoke about upcoming plans for Pokemon Go and provided updates about new Pokemon, the ability to battle other players, and other hopeful social features.
Perhaps the biggest tease was Hanke's response when asked about what the game's next "ace in the hole" was. "There is a lot of Pokémon that have not yet been launched," Hanke replied. "So I think the next secret weapon will be launch of the next Pokémon generation. I hope the players will soon see them."
Hanke is referring to the pending launch of the "Gen 3" Pokemon, a group of 135 new Pokemon first seen in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. Pokemon Go players discovered the Gen 3 Pokemon in the code several months ago, and it appears that the game is aiming to launch the next wave of Pokemon in the very near future, perhaps as soon as Halloween.
While Hanke implied that Pokemon Go players would soon have more Pokemon to catch, the news wasn't quite as great for two other much-requested features for the game. Hanke responded to a question about PvP battles by saying that the company is "planning to develop a new battle mode."
While Hanke confirmed that Pokemon Go was developing new ways to battle Pokemon, he said that the launch was still several months away at minimum. Hanke noted that they were hoping to launch the "new battle system" sometime in 2018.
Hanke also noted that Pokemon Go was working on ways to increase social interactions between players, particularly in order to increase coordination within local communities. Since many high level Raids need multiple players to beat, Pokemon Go desperately needs a way for players to communicate with each other and alert each other to pending raids and other points of interest. While many large cities have Pokemon Go Facebook and Discord groups, Niantic is looking for an internal mechanism to help players communicate.
We'll have to see how soon Pokemon Go's promised new features take to implement. Hanke has mentioned PvP battles for almost a year now, but it doesn't seem we're any closer to that feature getting added to the game.