Niantic’s Pokémon Go has only been available for a little over a year, but it’s had an incredible rollercoaster ride in its short life. The hype for the game pre-launch was something to behold, it was easily one of the most anticipated mobile releases in history.
It’s an easy sell, after all. Catching wild Pokémon in real life, on your smartphone, as you go about your daily business? We can all get on board with that. We all tried to, en masse, as the game’s popularity grew way too high for it to handle in the early days. Much as with Grand Theft Auto Online, early adopters were greeted with bugs, glitches and crashes-amundo, and many quit the game entirely before it really found a foothold.
Now, one year on, a lot of original players have probably forgotten that Pokémon Go ever existed. Even once it stabilized, Niantic had mismanaged a lot of things, adding extraneous features like the buddy mechanic (which allows you to walk with one of your Pokémon, a la some of the main series titles) while fundamental bits like tracking wild Pokémon remained broken. Just lately, though, the devs have been making up for their shortcomings with a series of updates, adding new features like Raid Battles.
If they haven’t managed to tempt you into re-downloading the app quite yet, though, perhaps this will. Niantic announced today that one of the most anticipated features of all is on its way to the game: Legendary Pokémon. As soon as this weekend, too.
Much as Pokémon Sun and Moon offer community challenges with awards for completion, Go is about to introduce the same. The prize will, potentially, be a Legendary Pokémon. Here’s how it’ll work, fresh from Niantic:
“On July 22, thousands of Trainers in Grant Park for Pokémon GO Fest and the millions of others around the world will be working together to unlock in-game bonuses for the entire Pokémon GO community. If they manage to catch enough Pokémon during the Pokémon GO Fest Challenge Windows, the first Legendary Pokémon will be revealed in Grant Park. 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.”
Should the players at the event succeed, users worldwide will then need a dose of luck for a legendary egg to spawn at a raid near them. Defeat it, and you’re in with a chance of catching it. As Destructoid reports, legendaries cannot be left to defend gyms, making them more trophy than battle companion, but it goes without saying that these guys are likely to bring some darn high CP values to the table.
It isn’t yet confirmed which of the many legendaries in the series will released first, but Niantic are likely to start from the beginning with the first trio: Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres. After all, imagery of the birds is already prominent within Go, with each representing one of the teams you can choose to ally yourself with at the start of your adventure.
Back last August, a player in Ohio was insisting that they’d caught a legitimate Articuno. Now, at last, it looks like we’re about to get that chance for real this weekend. Don’t let us down, Go players. If you need to get even further hyped, here's the official trailer for this weekend's legendary event.