Pokemon Go player walking around and playing the game.
Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash

Pokémon Go Routes will see players creating their own content with rewards for exploring

Chart your own path so players can follow in your footsteps.

Niantic is finally implementing Routes in Pokémon Go, giving players a way to create their own content, follow in the footsteps of others around the world, and earn rewards while doing so, according to an interview conducted with Dot Esports on June 10.

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Years of rumors and data mined backend data talking about the feature can finally be put to rest, with Pokémon Go fans calling for personalized content like Routes since the games’ beginning.

Niantic is keeping a close eye on the industry and knows Pokémon Go needs to continue crafting and releasing compelling gameplay to keep its live service thriving—especially after recent backlash. Catching Pokémon will always be at the core of the game, but further developments in AR and Niantic’s push to get players out to explore the world around them is a big driving factor in how new content can be developed to keep the community coming back.

Routes are a generated type of content that will let Pokémon Go players record their path of travel while out on walks and share them with other trainers around the globe. This will be done using “geodata objects” Niantic says will be at the disposal of trainers as they explore the world and share their experiences, all while getting benefits in the game.

“If you’re walking around a new area, there’s a huge difference between exploring on your own and having somebody there for you like a guide that can take you to areas you may not know about,” said Pokémon Go senior producer Chad Jones to Dot Esports. “Magical moments, secret gardens, hidden staircases, cool art murals that are in back alleys, [stuff] you wouldn’t know about unless somebody showed you. With Routes, you’re going to be able to share that knowledge and access it by following the footsteps of fellow trainers.”

Pokemon Go players out playing the game together at an event.
Image via Niantic

Conceptually, the developers view Routes not only as a compelling new piece of content for Pokémon Go, but as a way to elevate exploration and provide the community with a way of traveling together with “inside knowledge” from those who know the Routes they are sharing. 

Every Route will have a start and end point focused on geodata objects like a PokéStop, and you can even use the same PokéStop to start and end a Route—something Niantic made sure to include as a way to better support rural Pokémon Go communities. 

Related: Pokémon Go community praises Niantic for improved communication after bugged content spree

After starting the process of recording a Route, “GPS breadcrumbs” will be turned into the trail and generated as you walk. Once a Route is saved, players will be able to add descriptions and tags before submitting it for review, and if it gets approved, bonuses will be applied to the path and it will be discoverable from the Nearby menu in a new tab.

Every Route submission is reviewed by moderators and checked against Niantic’s existing data for things like potentially dangerous areas, restricted zones, and more. Human moderators will look at the Routes through a satellite view and further assess them on elements like spam filters or odd descriptions, with the goal being to approve or scrap a submission within 24 hours. 

While following a selected Route, players can keep interacting with Pokémon Go as they normally would, with full access to the game along the way.

A path lined by Pokemon Go team banners.
Image via Niantic

The people creating the paths can also choose if other players can follow it from either end or only begin from the starting point. Those creators can also choose to include their trainer name or remain anonymous while tagging the Route for things like wheelchair accessibility, crowded locations, and more. 

Niantic wouldn’t comment on specifics for what players will get while walking a Route, but things like Pokémon encounters, passive bonuses, and XP rewards were all mentioned.

“The idea is that there are Pokémon you’re able to catch along Routes, so there’s that benefit, [and] you’re actually getting the buffs that are applied to you as well,” Jones said. “It actually becomes a very good source of XP. So again, like you’re in a rural area, walking around, and you need better sources of XP, Routes become something that can hopefully become fundamental to the gameplay in a way that really elevates it for various communities.”

No date was shared for when Routes or the other new feature shown at Summer Game Fest, PokéStop Showcases, will be released. More information will be shared closer to when they begin rolling out.


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Author
Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.