The Pokémon Company announced the release via its official Japanese Twitter feed. The tweet (according to Google Translate) reads, “The network test for the Nintendo switch version of Pokémon UNITE has started! Anyone can participate from the Nintendo eShop until Saturday, June 26, so be sure to experience the Unite Battle!”
— ポケモン公式ツイッター (@Pokemon_cojp) June 24, 2021
Currently the network test is only available in Japanese, and there is no news on a network test for other territories. Switch owners with a Japanese eShop account however will be able to access it.
Pokémon UNITE is the first strategic MOBA game for the franchise. It will be a free-to-start title released in July 2021 for Nintendo Switch, with mobile devices to follow in September.
The game is being developed by Tencent‘s TiMi studio who is also responsible for Call of Duty: Mobile. Having generated US$10billion in 2020, which reportedly makes it the “world’s largest developer”.
Cross-play and cross-progression will be supported. Players can use their Pokémon Trainer Club account or Nintendo Account on Nintendo Switch and mobile to keep their progress synced between devices.
Pokémon UNITE takes place on Aeos Island, a mythical island said to be on the ocean’s unexplored frontier. Players will find the Unite Battle Committee (UBC), which runs a series of Unite Battle tournaments.
In Unite Battles, players form teams of five and compete against each other to see who can score the most points before time runs out. Players will be able to experience a new form of energy known as Aeos energy, which can be used to evolve Pokémon in Unite Battles.
In other news, Epic are currently offering Sonic Mania for free on their games store to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Sega’s mascot. Also available for free is retro racer Horizon Chase Turbo.