Earlier this week, ComicBook.com reported on some of the new additions found in Pokemon Go's coding but have not yet been implimented. In addition to new types of incense and trading, it also appears Niantic could soon introduce "buddy Pokemon" into the game that will follow the player's avatar as you walk through the game.
The coding was first noticed in a github depository that uploaded all of Pokemon Go's coding from the newest update released earlier this week. From the looks of the new code lines, players will be rewarded with candies for walking a set distance with their Pokemon partner. The buddy Pokemon system uses the same distance calculation as the distance tracker used for egg hatching.
The code shows four different ways the buddy Pokemon will appear on screen. The Pokemon will either appear perched on the player's shoulder, flying next to them, or walking behind them in either a "medium" or "large" size. This could be tied to the height and weight measurements currently found in Pokemon Go.
Players will be able to walk their Buddy Pokemon multiple times, but there appears to be a limit to how much candy a player can get from walking their Pokemon per day.
The concept is a riff on the Pokemon anime, which frequently shows Pokemon traveling alongside their trainer partners. Of course, Ash's Pikachu refuses to travel in his PokeBall, and other partner Pokemon have occasionally been shown traveling outside their PokeBalls. Team Rocket's Meowth, Misty's Togepi, Dawn's Piplup, Iris's Axew, and Bonnie's Dedenne are other Pokemon that have almost exclusively traveled outside of their PokeBalls.
The videogame version of buddy Pokemon first appeared in Pokemon Yellow, when a player's starter Pikachu followed them in the overworld map throughout their journey similar to how Ash's Pikachu was always out of its PokeBall in the Pokemon anime. The concept was expanded upon in Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, when the first Pokemon of a player's party (regardless of species) would always follow players on the map. Although walking Pokemon was a popular feature in HeartGold/SoulSilver, Nintendo did not use the feature in later games.
It's unknown at this time whether the feature will appear in the next update, or if Niantic plans on rolling out Buddy Pokemon in a later update.