Pokemon Go’s “Buddy System” Is The Best Thing To Happen To The Game

pikachu and ash
The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Go fans who datamined the latest version of game have found a pretty amazing new feature that’s meant to roll out in a future update. The feature, which fans have been calling the “Buddy System,” lets trainers pick a Pokemon that can follow them around the game like Pikachu follows Ash in the cartoon series (and in Pokemon Yellow).

The key of this feature is that you can pick any Pokemon to follow you around — but only one at a time. You’ll gain candies for that specific Pokemon the more you walk, kind of similarly to how you hatch eggs.

If this feature is real, it’s going to be the best thing to happen to the game since the game came out — and here’s why.

The current version of Pokemon Go does not have that fundamental “bonding” element that the Nintendo games have.


In the Nintendo games, you can choose to train whichever Pokemon you want. You carefully pick your starter, and it stays with you throughout your entire journey. This causes players to carefully pick their favorite Pokemon and bond with them throughout the game. As a 10-year-old kid in the playground, I definitely recall having a strong emotional connection to the six Pokemon I chose as my lineup. Even now, as an adult, I have never deleted the contents of the game. It’d feel like I was killing off a childhood friend.

Pokemon Go completely lacks this element. You choose a Pokemon based on whichever you catch at the time that happens to be good. A lot of it is all up to luck. Whichever Pokemon you encounter the most are likely going to be the ones you get enough candies to evolve. With this new update, you can choose to earn candies for a specific Pokemon. You get to grow your favorites because they’re you’re favorites and not because you happen to run into 100 pidgeys.

A lack of emotional connection is perhaps why many users have been abandoning the platform. They’re not invested, but this update could change that.

This app update gives users new, alternative ways to level up that just require walking.


It’s no secret that many players level up by catching a bunch of Pidgeys and repeatedly evolving them to gain experience. This works with any frequently encountered Pokemon that requires a low level of candies to evolve. With the update, users could practice this same technique but do it twice as fast. It’s like killing two Pidgey’s with one stone. Catch a bunch of Pidgeys to gain experience and walk around with a Pidgey to gain experience. Watch your level fly up faster than ever.

Players really can catch them all without it seeming like an impossible, way-not-worth-our-time goal.


Catching 400 Magikarp to get a Gyrados seems next to impossible, though we’ve all seen players who have done it. Catching 100 of an even rarer Pokemon to evolve it and add another Pokemon to your Pokedex is incredibly daunting. It really seems impossible. If the goal of the game is to really catch them all, the Buddy System makes it feel possible because you can focus on growing one specific rare Pokemon at a time rather than waiting for a random egg to hatch or hoping to encounter what you’re looking for.

There’s no word on when this feature is going to roll out — it’s all speculation — but if it’s actually happening, we can’t wait to get walking!


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