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Pokemon GO's detective hat-wearing Pikachu is sticking around longer than planned

Elementary, my dear Pikachu

Pokemon GO players around the world have been enjoying a Pokemon GO Fest Yokohama tie-in event, which saw Pikachu wearing all different types of hats. Today we learn that one of those hats is going to stick around just a little bit longer. The Pikachu wearing a detective hat has been extended, and will now be available until August 13th, 2019 at 10 a.m. JST.

Pokémon GO’s Sept. 2019 Community Day Features Turtwig

Turtwig is the star!

Community Day

Get out and play together in your local community parks on Pokémon GO Community Day. For just a few hours each month, you can encounter a special Pokémon in the wild. During these hours, there’s a chance to learn a previously unavailable move for that Pokémon or its Evolution, as well as earn some Community Day bonuses. Celebrate what it means to be a part of the Pokémon GO community and make new friends along the way!

Note: Fast TMs and Charged TMs will not grant exclusive moves during Community Day. To learn the exclusive move, you must catch or evolve the featured Pokémon during Community Day hours.

Find a Meetup Near You

Are you looking for Community Day event details or other Pokémon GO-related meetups happening in your city? There are many websites and platforms that Pokémon GO players use to organize with their local communities. To connect with other Trainers near you, try searching for your city name in conjunction with Pokémon GO on your preferred search engine, or finding groups in your area on social media channels, apps, and websites such as Facebook, Discord, Slack, WhatsApp, and more! These groups are managed independently by players and are not sponsored by Niantic, but offer great opportunities to meet Trainers in your area.

The Pokemon GO Turtwig Community Day kicks off Sept. 15th, 2019, and runs from 11:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. local time.

New Pokemon GO patch starting to roll out

The latest patch for Pokemon GO is starting to make the rounds, and it should be in full release by the end of this week. This patch brings the internal version to 0.151.0, and contains a variety of fixes. Changes include a new Egg Hatch animation, and suggested teams for battles against Team GO Rocket.

Race your way through the Safari Zone Montreal this September

The next Safari Zone event has been announced

Three, two, one—GO, Trainers!

The Pokémon GO team is excited to invite you to our Safari Zone Montreal this September. This ticketed event will take place along the historic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau on Saint Helen’s Island and Notre Dame Island in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

From September 20 to September 22, Parc Jean-Drapeau will be transformed into a speedy Pokémon wonderland. Pokémon that evolve into fast Pokémon will appear more frequently in the wild, and unique Field Research will be available for Trainers to complete throughout the day.

Can’t join us in Montreal? Fear not. Trainers across Canada may encounter many of the Pokémon featured at the Safari Zone. In addition, Yanma will appear more frequently globally!

Tickets will be available soon. Stay tuned to our official Pokémon GO channels for updates. We’ll be sharing news on this exciting Safari Zone in the coming weeks!

Meet you...at the finish line!

Giovanni photobombing Pokemon GO players

Trouble is coming

Team GO Rocket was photobombing Pokemon GO players a couple weeks back, and now something even more sinister is happening. Pokemon GO players participating in GO Fest Yokohama have noticed that Giovanni is popping up in their pictures, which certainly means he's up to no good. I'm sure we'll hear more from the nefarious man in no time at all.

Pokemon GO gift event now live

Pokémon GO is better with friends. What better way to show appreciation for your friends than with Gifts?

Date + Time

Monday, August 5, 2019, at 1 p.m. PDT to Monday, August 19, 2019, at 1 p.m. PDT

Features

All Eggs received from Gifts during the event will require only 2 km to hatch and look like 2 km Eggs, but don’t worry, Trainers! The Pokémon that hatch from them will be ones that normally appear in 7 km Eggs, regardless of whether you incubate or hatch them during or after the event.
For the duration of the event, the number of Gifts you can open daily will increase to 30.
For the duration of the event, the number of Gifts you can carry in your inventory will increase to 20.
If you’re lucky, you may hatch a Shiny Bonsly!
Remember to spin those PokéStops and stock up on Gifts so you can make your friends’ days bright by sending each of them a Gift!

Pokemon GO Fest Yokohama event to feature Shiny Poliwag (UPDATE)

Time for a Shiny

Niantic has announced the next Pokemon GO event, which is a tie-in for GO Fest Yokohama. This will include increased spawns of Poliwag, which can be found as a Shiny. The event runs Aug. 6th, 2019 through the entire GO Fest Yokohama week.

UPDATE - Niantic also announced that from August 6th to August 12th, 2019, Pikachu will be appearing globally, wearing a different hat each day.

Pokemon GO Dev Insights: Bringing Team GO Rocket to Life

Cruel intentions

Over the last few weeks, Niantic has been letting Team GO Rocket invade Pokemon GO. The invasion certainly lead to a lot of unique experiences for players, as well as a ton of fun. In a new blog from Niantic, the team reveals just how they cooked up all their dastardly plans for Team GO Rocket. Check out the full blog below.

You’ve seen the photobombs in Pokémon GO Fest Chicago, the hot-air balloon at Pokémon GO Fest Dortmund, and the PokéStop takeover near Herald Square in New York City. Team GO Rocket has invaded Pokémon GO, and the arrival of such an iconic part of the Pokémon franchise required fanfare that matched the excitement of the feature itself. Here’s the behind-the-scenes story of what it’s like to adapt one of the most recognizable fictional villainous organizations from the Pokémon world to ours!

Exploration and battle—with a twist!

The Team GO Rocket feature has the same design philosophy at its core as the rest of Pokémon GO: to encourage players to explore the world around them as they catch Pokémon, which is still a key draw for many players. The added element of coming across a Team GO Rocket Grunt at a PokéStop makes exploration more thrilling.

“We wanted to make PvE and PvP have a lower barrier to entry to players,” Tech Lead Manager Jake Jeffery says. We had a keen interest in making Pokémon GO’s battling system more accessible to Trainers who might not be as familiar with it. The type-based minigame for Charged Attacks rolling out at around the same time is no coincidence—the same team worked on both features! Replacing the tapping mechanic for Charged Attacks with a swiping gesture was also deliberately done to ensure players can more easily experience the battle mechanic.

It was important that battling Team GO Rocket was a unique experience compared to battling team leaders or other Trainers, but it was also an opportunity to help Trainers learn more about Pokémon battling. While you technically don’t know what a Grunt’s team is like until you enter the battle, we did include a hint: the Grunt prebattle text tips you off to what type their entire team will be. This teaches players about type effectiveness, which is an essential part of Pokémon battles.

Adapting from the core series with a Pokémon GO flair

“When the idea of including Shadow Pokémon came up, we realized that we had to do it!” Philip La, the feature lead product manager, enthusiastically expresses.

The introduction of Shadow Pokémon and Purified Pokémon was game changing for several reasons. These Pokémon not only give Trainers who are collectors at heart an appealing new challenge to overcome, but the feature also introduces a new method of obtaining powerful Pokémon worthy of the highest appraisals. The process of rescuing the Shadow Pokémon gives Trainers a new way to connect with their Pokémon, too. Instead of having Shadow Pokémon return to their base state, we decided to have them change into Purified Pokémon. At the core of the mechanic, the Trainer’s kindness and respect for the Shadow Pokémon they save is what makes the Pokémon stronger. According to Feature Lead Evan Moran, “This helps the Trainer remember their Pokémon’s journey!”

Evan enjoyed the quirkiness that we were able to bring to the Grunts via their dialogue. Team GO Rocket's dialogue—which amounts to hundreds of lines of text—combines with their poses, expressions, and overall art style to showcase them not only as a recognizable subsidiary of the original Team Rocket but also distinctively as part of Pokémon GO.

“My favorite part of the feature is having NPCs on the map,” said Matt Ein, the lead game designer on the project. “It’s very rare that we get to have other characters on the map.” Appearing on the map alongside our avatars, the Team GO Rocket Grunts actually feel like they’re in the world with us.

Pokémon GO
Game development is kind of like Victory Road

Trainers know that no Pokémon journey comes without challenges. The same goes for game development! Some difficulties with developing the feature included game balance and visual hierarchy.

Lots of thought had to go into tweaking Pokémon stats, deciding which Pokémon would appear as Shadow Pokémon in this release, and testing how the Purification process would impact the current meta. It helped that the lead game designer for Trainer Battles also worked on the Team GO Rocket feature! Our goal was to make sure that a competitive player’s experience with strengthening and finding powerful Pokémon is consistent and fair from beginning to end.

A tease—a test—that told a thousand stories

The Team GO Rocket feature was first rolled out with an incredibly low appearance rate on Tuesday, July 23, and then slowly withdrawn the next day. The purpose of this teased rollout process was threefold.

First, it was consistent with the marketing campaign at that point, which was teasing the feature’s release. Our campaign was built around the Grunts advancing and retreating all over the world, and we wanted to let players see the same thing happening in-game to build anticipation.

Second, the brief release was a test to balance how the feature would run in a production environment from a technical standpoint. Up until this point, focus groups and internal testing consisted mainly of a few dozen or so Trainers testing discolored PokéStops within a small radius of one another. We needed to test the feature globally to make sure that when it was fully released, it would work as planned. After this test, we were able to adjust the battle sequence to enhance the overall Team GO Rocket experience.

Finally, it was an opportunity to see how the Team GO Rocket feature would be used by everyday Trainers in a real-life setting. If there were unintended uses for the feature, this test would help us catch and correct them quickly. For example, with this test, we discovered there was an unexpected result when trading Shadow Pokémon.

If the trade resulted in a Lucky Pokémon and the Lucky Shadow Pokémon was then returned to its normal state, there was an incredibly high chance the Purified Pokémon would be a four-star Pokémon, according to the in-game appraisal tool. Since finding four-star Pokémon is supposed to be an impressive feat, we decided to remove the ability to trade Shadow Pokémon in order to maintain the balance of the game and avoid devaluing the hard work the players have put into finding four-star Pokémon.

Now...how will Team GO Rocket unleash their evil schemes next?

Your reaction to the Team GO Rocket feature has blown all of us away. To see something we’ve all worked so hard on bringing so much excitement to our players is what motivates us to continue making awesome experiences for you to enjoy. Trainers can look forward to more Grunts to defeat, more Shadow Pokémon to rescue, and maybe even some showdowns with new Team Rocket higher-ups...including one face that might be familiar...

In the meantime—get out there and defeat Team GO Rocket! The world of Pokémon GO depends on you!

—The Pokémon GO team

Pokémon GO receives the Sport in Life award

Time to celebrate

We are thrilled to share that Pokémon GO has received the Sport in Life award from the Sports Agency, a subsidiary of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology!

We learned of this inaugural nomination just around Pokémon GO’s third anniversary. This year’s celebrations have become all the more special from being honored by an organization like the Sports Agency—one that shares our mission and commitment to going outdoors, exploring the world, and striving for a healthier physical, mental, and social lifestyle.

Many Pokémon adventures start by asking “Why not?” before stepping out of our homes. Together we’ve taken galleries’ worth of GO snapshots, challenged Legendary Pokémon in raids with friends, completed tons of research for Professor Willow, and succeeded in two parts of the Global Challenge so far. We are incredibly proud and humbled to have been a part of this entire experience with you.

So thank you, Trainers, for playing Pokémon GO and attending our incredible live events around the globe! Your passion inspires us every day to create a unique experience that can be enjoyed by all.

Now it’s time to get out there and do what we do best. Let’s get up and GO!

Niantic reveals new shadow Pokemon for Pokemon GO

Me and my shadow

Niantic have announced more Shadow Pokémon for Pokemon GO. The new lineup includes Poliwag, Grimer, Muk, Drowzee, Hypno, Cubone, Scyther, Magikarp, Houndour and Houndoom.

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