Why Pokemon Masters Won't Have PvP

Why Pokemon Masters Won't Have PvP

Pokemon Masters will have co-op, but you won't be able to take the fight to your friends at all.

At first sight of Pokemon Masters in action, one might think that of course it would have PvP battling with its three-on-three real-time combat. The reality is anything but. Pokemon Masters will have co-op, wherein you and two friends can battle A.I. trainers together, but you won't be able to take that teamwork to competition against other players.

In my demo, director of product marketing Derrick Kuan of DeNA, the developers behind Pokemon Masters confirmed that there won't be any PvP. This is because it wants Pokemon Masters to be more "amateur friendly," and to put an emphasis on teamwork. In a group Q&A with the game's producer Yu Sasaki, this was confirmed via a translator.

"The core premise for this game Pokemon Masters is that we want people to be working together, to be making friends, to be working with their companions and sort of meeting all these different sync pairs," Sasaki says, "and we want people to enjoy that side of the game. So since that was the founding principle for this, we decided that we weren't going to include something where you're trying to have players pitted against other players, because that just wouldn't be compatible with the original concept."

The combat system in Pokemon Masters is different from the mainline games. Through a gacha system, you'll be able to collect famous trainers from Pokemon history who are all tethered to a single Pokemon—your starter character has Pikachu, and it goes on from there. Each trainer has an assigned type, like Fire, and up to four moves or items they can use on a cooldown. In battle you tap between the trainers and use moves, somewhat as you would in a turn-based battle. Slowly but surely, you build up a meter for a Sync Move, which is a powerful ability both the trainer and Pokemon do together. (For Brock's Sync Move, he flexes off his shirt for some bizarre reason.)

And in co-op, things get even more chaotic. The mode unlocks once you hit level 10 in the Story Mode. You bring in your usual team of three trainers to battle, but so do two companions at your side. You can only have one Sync Pair deployed at a time, which means you'll have to switch between them in the midst of battle, depending on both your foe's elemental weakness and what strength your co-op partners are playing with. It's all made more hectic by the fact that the battles are all in real-time, contrary to its turn-based roots in the proper RPGs. The reasoning for the switch is quite simple: real-time just naturally works on mobile better.

"The reason for [a real-time combat system] is that we do have a mode in the game where three people will be able to play in co-op," Sasaki says when I ask about the reasoning behind the real-time battle system. "And so if you have a turn-based setup for that, there's always going to be that time where maybe one of those people is thinking about what they want to do while everyone else is waiting, and that experience isn't a good match for something like that turn-based experience. So we, because we had co-op in mind, decided to do real-time play because that was a better fit."

Pokemon Masters is out later this summer on mobile, and will include 65 trainers at launch. We recently got hands-on time with the mobile adventure game, and came away surprised by seven particular trainers from deep Pokemon history that we spotted in our playtime. For fans looking forward to Sword and Shield, there won't be any teasers or trainers from the upcoming Pokemon hiding within Pokemon Masters unfortunately. Still, it won't be long until the free-to-play game hits all our phones.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Caty McCarthy

Features Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's official altgame enthusiast.

Read this next

Pokemon Masters Already Has 5 Million Pre-Registrations

You get to be a Pokemon Master! And you get to be a Pokemon Master!

Pokemon Masters Release Date Revealed: Gym Leaders, Battles, Trainer Moves

There’s a brand new Pokemon game coming to mobile devices this year. Here’s what you need to know about Pokemon Masters.

Pokemon Masters Co-Op: How to Unlock Multiplayer and Unleash Unity Attacks

You can buddy up with two other players in Pokemon Masters. Here’s how Pokemon Masters Co-Op works.

Pokemon Masters Battle System: How to Win Battles

Pokemon Masters features a unique 3v3 battle system. Here’s everything you need to know.

Pokemon Masters Sync Moves: How to Unlock More Sync Moves

Sync Moves are the most powerful attacks in Pokemon Masters. Here’s what you need to know about them

Pokemon Masters Passive Skills - How to Unlock Passive Skills

Passive Skills are an important part of the battle system in Pokemon Masters. Here’s how they work.

More News

Nintendo Says There is No Switch Exchange Program

Nintendo of America denies last week's reports of Switch exchanges.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Ban Sets Off Massive Debate

Dragon Quest's Hero is a random character... possibly too random.

Halo Infinite's Creative Director Leaves 343 Industries

This week sees a leadership shake-up for Microsoft's big launch title.

"Stop Asking 'Is It Political?' and Start Asking Instead About the Actual Politics of Each Game"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Also, the things studios of all sizes do to survive, and what happens when that's not enough.

More on Android

Call of Duty Mobile Release Date - Android, iOS, Battle Royale Details

This is our guide on Call of Duty Mobile, including the release date, platforms including Android and iOS, battle royale details, and more.

Fortnite Memorial to a Cube - How to Visit a Memorial to a Cube in the Desert or by a Lake

Here's our guide to the Fortnite cube memorial locations, within the desert and by a lake.

Epic Will Pull Fortnite's Reskinned Battle Pass Pup and Issue Refunds

The pet was just a bit too similar to another pass-exclusive puppy.

Pokemon Masters Already Has 5 Million Pre-Registrations

You get to be a Pokemon Master! And you get to be a Pokemon Master!

Minecraft's Super Duper Graphics Update is Ending Development

Mojang will explore other ways of making Minecraft more super.

Pokemon Go Jump Start Research Guide

There’s some brand new Special Research to take on in Pokemon Go. Here’s what you need to know about the Pokemon Go Jump Start Research.

More Adventure Games

No Man’s Sky Base Building (Beyond Update 2019)

Everything you need to know about Base Building in No Man’s Sky.

No Man’s Sky Nexus: Nexus Social Hub, Multiplayer Missions, Construction Research Terminal - Everything You Need to Know

The Nexus is a brand new social hub in No Man’s Sky. Here’s everything you should know about it.

How to Ride Animals in No Man’s Sky

You can now tame and mount creatures in No Man’s Sky. Here’s how to do it.