Niantic has finally announced the release date of legendaries in Pokemon Go.
As the company said in a post on its website this morning, the game’s first ever legendary is going to appear at Pokemon Go Fest Chicago on Saturday. The players in Chicago are tasked with defeating the legendary Pokemon in a Raid Battle, and when they do, legendaries will be unlocked for everyone around the world.
Niantic did not provide an exact time for when the legendaries will unlock worldwide, but they said that they will begin appearing “after Pokemon Go Fest.” Pokemon Go Fest ends at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday, July 22nd, and Niantic had previously put up a graphic on their website referring to a “mystery challenge” alongside the release date “July 23 – 24,” with this being unlocked if the Chicago players perform some unspecified task. After today’s announcement, we can assume that this “mystery challenge” was referring to legendary raids.
Niantic also says that the legendary that will appear after Pokemon Go Fest Chicago will be the same legendary that appears at the Chicago event, writing, “If the Trainers in Chicago succeed in defeating the Legendary Pokémon, that Pokémon will start appearing in Raid Battles around the world, after Pokémon GO Fest.” So it sounds like on Sunday and Monday, there will be a special challenge where players can specifically fight one type of legendary Pokemon in gyms, the same type of legendary that appears in Chicago. Presumably, after this two-day challenge ends, more legendaries will begin to be released. After all, Niantic announced that “Legendary Pokemon are nearly here,” not “a Legendary Pokemon is nearly here.”
Legendaries will be released in the form of Raid Battles, with the legendaries being classified as the fifth tier of Raid Bosses. There’s not anything special you have to do in order to come across legendaries; they will just appear at gyms as Raid Bosses, and you can challenge them like usual. It does seem, however, that you have to use a special Raid Pass for legendary raids. It’s unclear at this time how rare an occurrence this will be, but in the announcement video above, the countdown to the raid is 48 hours long, giving players plenty of time to prepare and spread the word.
It’s also unclear whether every legendary in the game will be made available at once, or whether they will be introduced in phases. It’s safe to assume, however, that the following legendaries will be available soonest, as they are all featured functioning as Raid Bosses in the new trailer for legendary Pokemon: Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno, Ho-Oh, and Lugia. And although it is not seen appearing as a Raid Boss, Mewtwo shows up at the very end of the trailer.
As is the case with all Raid Battles, if you defeat the legendary in the raid, you will catch a legendary Pokemon. However, these legendaries are so powerful that Niantic will not allow players to station them as defenders in gyms.