Niantic has revealed Pokemon Go Fest 2021 details – and they look quite promising

    
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New details on Pokemon Go’s next Go Fest have been released, and there is cause for excitement. While we’re already seeing that, once again, players who may not be able to leave their homes due to COVID may get shafted, and there’s a hint that there may be some more sponsorship shenanigans. The raid pokemon could be highly sought after ‘mon, or stay-at-home players may receive benefits only if they’re accessing the game through the event’s sponsor, Google. We don’t know.

What we do know is that the July 17th-18th event is only $5 and brings regionals Sawk and Throh together with largely southern-equator exclusive Chatot, a branching questline, and two new soundtracks from Pokémon music producer Junichi Masuda.

Rare pokemon Audino – a potential Mega Evolution candidate that also grants the most stardust from a single catch at 2.1k – will be spawning more frequently, hatching from 7k eggs (which will hatch at half their distance), and get its shiny form. Deino, the pokemon that got Niantic into some hot water last year, is said to be spawning more often during the event as well.

If you’re not into the more competitive side of POGO, fear not. The branching quest allows you to get several costume pokemon, though they do sound exclusive. As you’re making a band, you’ll start out by choosing Pikachu Rock Star or Pikachu Pop Star, which also changes the music the game plays during the event. You’ll then have to choose between costumed versions of Galarian Ponyta and Zigzagoon, and then Flygon or Gardevoir. The general idea is neat, though I must admit a music-themed event for a game played outside with people seems at odds with basic safety and socializing, but the yearly Halloween Lavender Town Remix the game birthed is one of my favorite series tracks ever, so why not?

Much like last year’s event, this one will feature hourly themed spawns on Saturday from four themed areas: jungles, desert mountains, ocean beaches, and caves, spawning for an hour before rotating to the next one. Again, this will be an eight-hour event from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time, but unlike the Kanto event, Go Fest has the entire second day as a round-up in case you couldn’t play during the times you wanted.

Pokémon GO

There will also be another Global Arena Challenge this year, with Saturday participants unlocking rewards that will affect other players for the “remainder of the hour,” making it seem as if the challenges will be shorter but immediately rewarding, which may help keep the event self-contained and avoid another Dragon-week-Deino kerfuffle.

In addition to being a make-up day, the second day will also focus on raids. Players will have up to 10 free raids passes if they can go out or live by gyms, but there will be a three-pack of remote raid passes plus ways to earn eight more. This does essentially mean players who leave their homes have double the raid opportunities stay-at-home players have, but it’s a good number of raids. We have asked PR whether the COVID changes that should stay will be rolled back, as that could seriously impact stay-at-home players, but per usual we were told they have nothing to share at this time.

That being said, the event does seem to be preparing for people to meet again in public spaces. Incense will once again be a major factor in the event and see exclusive pokemon spawned from it, including shiny Unown F and G, Lures will be lasting for three hours again. This may be a kind of compromise, as places like the US and UK are seeing some good vaccination numbers, while Japan may have just 4% of its population vaccinated as of this writing. For many players, this may be a time to go out, though others may still feel safer at home. The incense and lure differences seem like a good way to balance this, but as usual, the remote vs. non-remote raid passes seem as if they should simply be doled out as remote passes as they are the more flexible option.

The event will also offer a 10k xp bonus for completing raids, printouts for home parties, real-life swag to purchase, and more, so be sure to check out the full details. We don’t have details on the Raid Pokemon, at home supplies, additional storage, or other potential player concerns, as Niantic was unwilling to share more. 6/4 Update: More storage is available now, including a 2-for-1 single purchase Event Box.

Finally, in other Pokemon news, the Pokemon Legends Arceus Japanese site has the game listed as single-player. While the US site lacks this note, PR told us that the Nintendo product page also notes the game is single-player, but reps wouldn’t comment on whether a future announcement might broaden expand on this detail, such as via DLC. We also don’t know whether the game will connect to Pokemon HOME, which would allow for POGO ‘mon to help you out, but we’ll report on that as soon as we know more. A new update does let you look at poke-butts, though.

7/8 Update: More details have dropped. Players will have up to six special trades available starting Friday, 6 pm July 16, to 11 pm July 18, the end of the event. Players also will need to choose between Hat Gardevoire or Hat Flygon during their quest, but don’t worry, the non-hat version you don’t pick will still spawn from incense (but the hat version will also spawn from pictures taken on Sunday).

Your starting choice between Pop or Rock Pikachu also dictates with of two poses you’ll get to reflect your tastes, plus which Pikachu will photo-bomb your pictures on Saturday.

Finally, the Global Unlocks players can earn hint at themed weeks based on the Creation Trio, or at least Dialga and Palkia. Both are fairly useful in PvP, though as the third event is a bit of a mystery, I do slightly wonder if the final unlock could be Arceus instead of Giratina, as the Alpha Pokemon has yet to be released, along with several other Gen 5 pokemon. We’ll have to wait and see who shows up after the event!

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!
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