Shadow Pokémon look to be making their way into Pokémon GO according to a lengthy piece of information obtained through datamining. The Information was posted to Twitter by Chrales, and while there is a good amount of code, we need to keep in mind that this might not necessarily be for any event happening anytime soon.
Developers often include code long before an event happens. With that in mind, a Shadow Pokémon event could occur soon like next week, or far from now in 2020. However, there seems little doubt that there is certainly some event forming around Shadow Pokémon because there is simply so much code added into the game.
How Team Rocket Could Work In Pokémon GO
Discussion regarding how Team Rocket could be implemented into the game has existed since before Pokémon GO even had its formal launch. The issue when considering their behavior in most other Pokémon games in the series lies with the nature of combating NPCs in the wild. Often, they are triggered by entering into their line of sight, which is unavoidable in most cases, and forcing a short battle.
In Pokémon GO there is no such line of sight to worry about since players can move about as they see fit. Much like everything else in the game, Team Rocket would need to appear on screen, be identifiable, and then explicitly chosen by the player.
Perhaps, then, the most logical way to deal with Team Rocket then is to place them at Pokéstops, since those are plentiful for most individuals and would not overcrowd the rest of the game or take away Pokémon spawns.
If Shadow Pokémon are part of a larger event, and not some short promotion, there is also the potential to fill raids with Team Rocket members who are deadlier, and more competent than the grunts we will see throughout the world, and the rewards could be the rarest of Shadow Pokémon.
What Are Shadow Pokémon Exactly?
Shadow Pokémon are not as common as some believe. The difference between them and other Pokémon is that they engage in immoral acts because they have had the doors to their hearts closed through a process created and carried out by Cipher in the Orre region. Finding these Shadow Pokémon and Purifying them is a major objective in both Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
As is thematically appropriate, it appears that Team Rocket will be behind the artificial closing of Pokémon hearts and causing them to engage in illegal acts. The datamining shows New Quests that indicate we will be battling Team Rocket and purifying Pokémon. Grunt male and female Team Rocket members appear in the code along with a variation for every elemental type of Pokémon.
Acquiring these Pokémon will likely provide new moves found in the code as well: Frustration, Synchronize, and Return. As they appear to also have unique requirements for Candy and Stardust not shared with other Pokémon, players will probably need to start acquiring that, or perhaps converting current resources in some way.
Appearance wise, the Pokémon have identical features to non-Shadow variants, but have most of their colors darkened. There are also a number of restrictions to using Shadow Pokémon before they are purified such as not being able to level up, evolve, accept rare candy, receive a nickname, or become traded. It is not yet clear if this restriction will carry over to Pokemon GO, but there is no reason to believe it would be different.
How Shadow Pokémon Could Be Brought Into Pokémon GO
Since Team Rocket appears to be blasting into Pokémon GO at some point, players will likely encounter them in the wild or at places like Pokéstops to do battle. It would make sense to then have the opportunity to snag a Shadow Pokémon after defeating the Grunts, rather than have them appear in the wild like other common finds.
From that point, the process of purification in other games is quite straightforward. Pokémon have their experience bars replaced with a Heart Gauge, and over time the heart will open. This is accomplished gradually by walking around, as in carrying the Pokémon in a party, battling, massaging, using a purify chamber, or by being placed into Day Care or using a Time Flute and calling Celebi for instant purification. There final two are from Pokémon Colosseum only.
Nearly all of these could easily be adapted for Pokémon GO, and it would make sense to have some form of Purification chamber function like incubators, where being inside and walking a required distance aids in the purification process.
What about Shadow Mewtwo?
Pokkén Tournament saw the addition of Shadow Mewtwo in November of 2015, sharing the same prefix as the Shadow Pokémon both games mentioned earlier. In the lore of the Pokémon universe, previously we saw Anne possessed by a Shadow Synergy Stone. Mewtwo interjected on her behalf, saving her but also being controlled and merged with the stone instead.
Shadow Mewtwo then went from Synergy Stone to Synergy Stone around Gaia to increase its power, up until the player defeats it in combat. If ever Niantic needed an epic raid battle boss, they would need to look no further than Shadow Mewtwo.
Keep your eyes peeled for more details on what is sure to be a major event in the future!