Niantic announced on Tuesday that its Pokémon GO smartphone game will add a "Buddy Adventure" feature in 2020. The "elevated bonding experience for Trainers and their buddies" will allow players to interact with their Buddy Pokémon in new ways.
In the new feature, activities such as playing with, feeding, and battling with a Buddy Pokémon will raise that Pokémon's mood. Players will be able to use AR+ mode to interact with their Buddy Pokémon. Changing Buddy Pokémon will no longer reset walking progress toward earning Candy.
Similar to in-game friendship levels with other players, Buddy Adventure will add Good, Great, Ultra, and Best Buddy Levels for Buddy Pokémon. As the level increases, players will be able to earn additional in-game rewards and perks with that Pokémon. Interacting with Buddy Pokémon will earn affection to increase the Buddy Level.
In addition, a Shared AR Experience mode will allow players' Buddy Pokémon to meet "soon" after the Buddy Adventure feature launches. Players will be able to join up to two other players to take AR photos together with their Buddy Pokémon.
Niantic announced in October that it will add the "GO Battle League" online battle system to the game in early 2020.
The game began adding Pokémon from the Unova region in the Pokémon Black and Pokémon White games to the smartphone game in September. The Pokémon GO app launched in select countries including the United States in July 2016.
Sources: Email correspondence, Pokémon GO's website