The Pokémon Trading Card Game is borrowing a page from mobile ARG Pokémon Go’s marketing book, along with its in-game designs. The upcoming themed set is planned to release worldwide on July 1st and will feature card artwork that places the lovable pocket monsters in real-world landscapes.
Portraying the normally cartoonish Pokémon world as something closer to our own was central to Pokémon GO’s initial pitch. The augmented reality mobile game, which launched in the middle of 2016, used cameras to simulate little digital friends running around the player’s immediate environment - parks, bedrooms, offices and sidewalks would suddenly become the stage for wild encounters.
While the actual game played out with a little less verisimilitude, the continued success of Pokémon GO spawned plans for a tie-in trading card game set first announced back in February. According to a recent press release, the art on specific cards will aim for “photorealistic artwork” similar to GO’s three-dimensional models bopping and hopping around wherever a player’s phone is pointed. A Snorlax sleeping in a field and Pikachu strolling beside its trainer were offered as examples, so expect an urban environment-meets-illustrated animals vibe.
Other cards will instead simulate the kinds of activities and scenarios that Pokémon Go players do on the daily, such as throwing balls at wild creatures or leaving a beefy companion to guard a gym against competing teams. Speaking of the three teams, the leaders of Instinct, Mystic and Valour - Spark, Blanche and Candela, respectively - will crop up as Supporter cards in boosters, likely sporting mechanics in line with their archetypal personalities.
Players will be able to collect the Pokémon GO Collection through three Team-themed boxes, along with two more featuring a Radiant Eevee and Alolan Exeggutor V single. There will also be preconstructed battle decks with Mewtwo and Melmetal at the helm, which offers a nice way for Pokémon TCG beginners to jump directly into play.
All of the usual booster packs and bundles will also be available, but The Pokémon Company said those will hit store shelves at an undisclosed point after the initial release on July 1st. The other digital card offering, Pokémon TCG Live, launches later this year, but Matt and Liv have already jumped in for an early look.