GTA V and Pokémon have had an... odd history of crossovers in the past. Between an extremely creepy Merfish recreation and a retro video which pulls as GTA skin over classic Pokémon gameplay, the crossing-over has gone both ways. This should come as no surprise though, since both franchises are extremely popular.
However while Rockstar's notorious open-world action-adventure franchise has achieved massive mainstream popularity, Pokémon has more or less stuck to a specific target audience (and no, that audience isn't children). This all changes upon the recent release of the AR mobile game, Pokémon Go.
Go has exploded in popularity globally, with millions upon millions of players jumping on the bandwagon. Soon after release, the stock worth of Nintendo shot through the skies, hilarious (and not-so-hilarious) news stories related to the shenanigans of the game have popped up, and practically every gaming site has been covering it since launch.
One of the main draws of Pokémon Go is that it requires players to get up and actually go out into the world to play. You encounter wild Pokémon by walking around outside, as the game tracks your location via GPS. You can also hatch special Pokémon Eggs by walking certain distances.
While the use of bots, hacks, GPS spoofing and even drones has allowed lazy PGO players to stay at home and still catch 'em all, all of these methods are bannable offenses. Well, GTA V modder LudicrousBeach has created a way of playing Pokémon Go from the couch without getting banned - unless you play GTA Online with the mod active of course... Because we all know that the use of any mods in Online will get you banned.
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Pokémon Go GTA Edition is a pretty large mod, which faithfully recreates the Pokémon Go experience in Grand Theft Auto V's story mode. Many of the features and gameplay mechanics from the actual game have been replicated in the mod. Pokéstops are scattered around Los Santos and Blaine County, wild creatures at their first stage of evolution spawn across the map and finally there is a levelling system in place identical to that in Niantic's AR game.
There are a few minor changes, as can be expected. Only Pokémon at the first stage of their evolutionary trees can be encountered in the wild. Ten of one given species must be captured across the GTA V map to evolve a stage-two creature, and again 10 stage-two specimens are required to unlock stage-three.
There are also no Gyms, since this mod is to be used in single player. The Pokémon have no CP and can't level up, unlike the player and nicknames that cannot be given to the creatures either. The mod is also a work in progress, since many of the Pokémon models aren't finished, none have eyes, and none are animated, so the GTA V game world will be populated by large stiff Pokémon bobbing up and down as they walk around.
Whereas in Pokémon Go, Pokéstops are (officially, at least) reset every five minutes, this figure is implemented in the mod as the timer for the autosave. There is a separate save function in the mod, meaning each time you load up GTA V with the mod active, you'll continue where you left off.
The mod also includes the egg hatching mechanic from Pokémon Go. You can acquire eggs from Pokéstops, just like in the game, and incubating them required travelling a given distance. Here, instead of using a speed tracker, the mod is more strict. The use of scripting in GTA V allowed the author to code the mod so that distance is only tracked while the player is on foot.
The eggs are much more straightforward in the mod too. The same three distance varieties are present in the mod - 2 km, 5 km and 10 km - with corresponding evolution levels. While in Pokémon Go, the longer the incubation is, the wider the range of Pokémon you can hatch, the three distance tiers in the mod determine the level of evolution the hatching Pokémon will be.
The catching mechanic has also been revamped a tad for the mod. The Pokéball works like a baseball, and simply needs to be tossed near a Pokémon that you're aiming at and a successful capture is guaranteed. If only things were that easy in the real game!
Finally, the mod also features its own UI. While many aspects of Pokémon Go GTA Edition are still under development, the mod already stands out as the only faithful recreation of the Nintendo/Niantic's mobile sensation in Rockstar's popular game.
Have you been bewitched by Pokémon Go, or is GTA Online preventing you from leaving the house like that game requires?