After data miners had discovered a Pokemon GO Buddy System earlier this week, developer Niantic went ahead and confirmed the feature this past Friday.
This is the official statement from them:
“You will be able to pick your favorite Pokemon from your collection to become your buddy, opening up unique in-game rewards and experiences. Buddy Pokemon will appear alongside your Trainer avatar on your profile screen, adding helpful bonuses such as awarding Candy for walking together. You’ll also have the ability to change your Buddy Pokemon at any time.”
It’s not just a great feature because it’s cute to have a Pokemon alongside your trainer, it also makes sense mechanically. Since battles in Pokemon GO are usually done by a single Pokemon, a lot of gamers prefer to spend all their Candy and XP training a single Pokemon to make it super powerful. Since most players are doing this anyway, this new Pokemon GO Buddy System is meant to reward and encourage that kind of play style. It’s smart on Niantic’s part.
They also said there’s “a lot more updates” coming this fall, so we’ll see if Pokemon GO keeps growing and becoming deeper.