Devoted Pokémon GO fans have datamined the latest version of the game and have come across something rather significant, meant to debut in an upcoming patch. It’s a new “Buddy System,” something that lets trainers choose a specific Pokémon and “bond” with it.

What this means in practical terms is that using the same sort of distance calculation as egg hatching, you can choose a particular Pokémon and train it by making it your “Buddy” and walking it around, which will award you with candy for that Pokémon in particular.

You can walk only one Pokémon at a time, and though you can walk them multiple times, there will be a daily limit on how much candy you can get for it. This should also come with some new kind of animation, which shows your Buddy Pokémon following you around onscreen.

While certain aspects of this system may change before release (some speculate it could be coming as soon as next week), I highly doubt this entire thing is some sort of hoax. Rather, it’s an adaption of something I’ve seen fans suggest almost verbatim multiple times since launch.

Lately, it’s been easy to be rather down on Pokémon GO as the fad appears to be fading, and the game is turning from a supersize hit to a regular-level hit as players leave, but I’m genuinely impressed with how many of the game’s issues this one new feature would address.

Improvements from the latest update >

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