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Pokemon Go Remote Raid Changes Were "Incredibly Difficult" To Make Says Niantic

The Pokemon Go developer sheds some light on a recent controversial decision.


Last month, Pokemon Go developer Niantic unveiled changes to the game's Remote Raid Pass system, with both a price hike and a limit of five pass uses per day releasing simultaneously. Fans were disappointed in the situation, and now Niantic has commented on what went into the decision, including how the passes were affecting the game's ecosystem.

GameSpot recently spoke with Pokemon Go director Michael Steranka about the changes, in which he said, "the decision to add limitations and adjust the pricing of Remote Raid Passes was an incredibly difficult one for us to make," but that ultimately, "it was something we felt we had to do."

Remote Raid Pass for Pokemon Go
Remote Raid Pass for Pokemon Go

Steranka said that Niantic internal data showed player behavior that was "completely antithetical to what we envisioned the experience for Pokemon Go to be." For example, some players were "doing dozens, sometimes hundreds, of legendary raids in a single day without ever leaving home."

He calls the changes to the mechanics "incredibly painful"--admitting that he was one of the "top 99% users" of the passes himself--but that they were necessary to get the game back to what the team first envisioned. "We really want to lean back into what makes Pokemon Go special and different from any other game," he explained, "and that's how the key components of the game are tied to physical locations in the real world, and they drive our players together, to meet up in person, and collaborate, coordinate, and foster these local communities that you just don't get with any other game."

Steranka's comments came during an interview discussing Pokemon Go's new Shadow Raids, which begin on May 22. These new events will introduce Shadow Pokemon to Gym Raids, with Shadow Mewtwo serving as the first five-star Shadow Raid on May 26-27. Shadow Raids, incidentally, cannot be entered using a Remote Raid Pass.

"We know there's probably going to be a healthy amount of snark and people who are still upset by some of these decisions, but our hope is that over time, people remember and realize what drew them to this experience to begin with," Steranka continued. "2023 is going to be our most ambitious year yet, and we want our actions to speak louder than words, we want our players to know that we're invested in making cool experiences in Pokemon Go, and we're hopeful that people will be excited to try them out."

Pokemon Go is available to download now for free on both iOS and Android devices.

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