‘Pokemon Go’ Articuno Found: Is It Real or Fake?

Pokemon Go user claims to have captured Articuno, one of the three legendary birds.

Images and video of Articuno in the game have been making waves on social media, and they certainly look legitimate. So what’s going on here? Did someone actually catch Articuno? Is this a fake? A hack?

Don’t get too excited. At this time, although we can’t say for sure, it appears that these are impressive fakes and Articuno has not actually been captured.

Let’s take a look at the evidence. First, the person who posted the Facebook video above also posted a screenshot on Reddit, and in the comments section, they shared a rather unlikely story about how they got their hands on Articuno:

I have no idea why Niantic decided to give me an Articuno, but I surely do have one! Pretty amazing and I can’t wait for Niantic to confirm its legitimacy, but it doesn’t really matter…it can’t be fake when people are battling it in a gym! It is what it is!…and it was obviously a promo to stir up hype, and it obviously has done that in no time at all!…and it wasn’t b/c of a ‘late response’… i had emailed them with a question on day 1 of release and they just emailed me back tonight stating they were gifting me with it!..and i’ll be darned – it was right there in my pokedex!

After weeks of rumors surrounding the three legendary Pokemon, would the game’s developer really gift a random person one for absolutely no reason? For such an anticipated event, Niantic would almost certainly make this much more of an event.

Besides, this user later shared the supposed email from Niantic, and in it, “Articuno” is spelled wrong.

But how can we explain players supposedly battling Articuno at the gym? Assuming that’s even true, Reddit users have been pointing to the fact that a recent hack allows players to modify the skins of Pokemon. For example, using this hack, one could make it so that every time they encounter a Pidgey in the game, it looks like a Articuno.

There have also been reports of an Articuno popping up in Jacksonville, as posted by Reddit user brianv3ntura.

This is almost certainly another fake. It seems likely that the hack above is being used, and another element that makes this one questionable is the fact that the person with the Articuno is a member of Team Instinct. Wouldn’t it make sense to make the three legendary birds exclusive to the teams they are associated with?

There’s some slim possibility that one or both of these is the result of a glitch, not a hack. A recent bug has made it so that sometimes users will catch one species of Pokemon, only for it to show up as something completely different in their inventory. Is it possible that somehow both of these users caught normal Pokemon, but due to this visual glitch, they both appeared as Articuno in their inventory?

Needless to say, though, any images or video you see of Articuno going forward should be met with a skeptical eye. When one of the three legendary birds appears, it will likely be a much bigger deal than a random player being gifted them after cold emailing the game’s developer.

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