Niantic Labs has just released some new information about Pokemon Go Fest.
In a post on their website on July 12th, Niantic went into detail about what will happen at the upcoming event in Chicago. Of course, what players are most interested in is news about legendaries. Towards the end of their post, Niantic says that throughout the day on July 22nd, there will be “challenge windows,” during which players in Chicago must try to unlock rewards while players around the world try to catch as many Pokemon as possible. Should players around the world catch enough Pokemon, a “mystery challenge” will be unlocked for those in Chicago. If those in Chicago complete the challenge, then an “extra-special bonus” will become available for players everywhere. In a graphic on the page, Niantic describes this as a “major global reward.”
A lot of players are interpreting this to mean that legendaries (or at least one legendary) will become available upon the successful completion of the challenge in Chicago. The theory is that the “mystery challenge” will be a level five Raid Battle with a legendary Pokemon at the top of the gym. If those in Chicago beat this challenge and defeat the legendary, level five raid battles will be unlocked around the world, or perhaps just that particular legendary will start appearing at gyms around the world.
You’ll notice that in the graphic above, it’s specified that the “Global Reward” will happen on July 23rd and July 24th, the two days following Pokemon Go Fest Chicago. This would make sense if Niantic’s goal is to build up hype around the release of legendary Pokemon; players would find out at the Chicago event that legendaries are on the way, allowing buzz to build up on social media, and it would then take until the following day before these Pokemon actually become available.
It had previously been rumored that Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago would be where Niantic would unveil its legendary Pokemon, but the problem was that this would really make everyone outside of Grant Park feel left out. If the Pokemon is first unlocked in Chicago but then unlocks for the rest of the world, that would be a nice balance of giving Chicago something special while not making such a key part of the game exclusive to one location.
The other part of Pokemon Go Fest is that throughout the day, the Chicago players will be able to catch certain types of Pokemon, with this unlocking particular perks for players everywhere. For example, if they catch Electric type Pokemon, this will reduce the distance required to hatch eggs for everyone. If they catch Grass type Pokemon, they will give players everywhere a Stardust boost.
The “major global reward” could certainly refer to something other than legendaries, but it must be something that’s intended to be a surprise, otherwise Niantic would simply explain what it is in their announcement. It can’t be anything like an increase in Stardust or reduction in egg hatching distance, as those are already a part of the unlockable perks and therefore would not be something particularly special. It must be a reward of significance that players have been waiting for and that will be a surprise, and the only thing that really falls into that category is the release of legendaries.
Had this announcement come in a vacuum, there would not be as much evidence that the global reward will be legendaries. But it also comes after Niantic has said that they hope to release legendaries this summer, and after an ad appeared in the App Store advertising “Special Pikachu Hat and first legendary Pokemon.” That suggests that the legendaries will be available around the same time that the special Pikachu wearing Ash’s hat are available, and that hat-wearing Pikachu is only around until July 24th. In addition, some players have started seeing test level five Raid Battles showing up on their tracker recently.
Also worth noting is that this announcement from Niantic also goes into detail about some other upcoming Pokemon Go events at Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers in Europe. These begin on August 5th and run until September, and the description of those events notes that players will be able to take on “unique and powerful Raid Bosses.” That sure sounds like a description of legendary Pokemon, suggesting that legendaries will be in the game by early August. This could indicate that not all legendaries will be released at the same time in July, though, allowing Niantic to slowly introduce others throughout the subsequent weeks, including at the Europe events.
Pokemon Go Fest takes place on July 22nd.