Grab your red and white Ash Ketchum hat and your portable phone charger, because this weekend legendary Pokemon are finally coming to Pokemon Go.
Up until now, it was not actually possible to “catch ‘em all” in the hit mobile game. Two full generations of Pokemon have been released, totalling over 250 creatures to capture and train, but the most powerful ones have not yet been released into the wild. Zapdos, Moltres, Lugia and more have eluded the grasp of trainers across the world, but things are about to change.
On July 22, Pokemon Go Fest is being held in Chicago at Grant Park. Don’t try to get tickets though, as they sold out in minutes and were being peddled on resale markets for close to $500 a piece. If you managed to snag a way in, be prepared to join your real life trainer comrades and fight the strongest creatures the game has ever seen as the game’s developers Niantic have announced that this weekend will be players first glimpses at legendary Pokemon.
Don’t fret if you’re outside Chicago, but make sure to stay tuned to social media to see how the battle is going. Pokemon Go Fest attendees will have to test their mettle before granting access to legendary Pokemon for the rest of the world. This is how it’s all going down.
Catch. Them. All.
This one’s for everyone. Trainers in Chicago will have to head out and corral specific types of Pokemon to complete three capture windows at 11am, 1pm and 3pm (all times CT), with each window lasting a half hour.
Trainers in other parts of the world just have to catch as many Pokemon as they can. If everyone is successful in catching enough during these challenge windows, global rewards will be unlocked.
Trainers outside Chicago will have to sit back and wait for their Pokemon hunting brethren take charge. If all three challenge windows are completed, Pokemon Fest goers will access a legendary raid—perhaps the hardest challenge and the strongest Pokemon in the game so far. Everyone will have to work together and use their strongest creatures to take down the raid boss, then have a chance to capture the first ever legendary in the game. If they do, it’s time for the rest of the world to stand up.
The Big Picture
On July 23, if Chicago players stepped up and completed the challenges, everyone around the world will have access to legendary Pokemon raids. You’ll still need to find some friends or other helpful trainers, because taking down these legendaries in a raid will take a lot of skill and some strong Pokemon. Make sure to get the most out of Go this weekend, as Niantic have hinted that legendary Pokemon could disappear after July 24.
These raids finally bring the most sought-after Pokemon into the game and fulfill a promise of community-oriented battles that was shown in the original promotional material for the game. The augmented reality app set records when it was downloaded and devoured by huge amounts of people around the world, but it lost its footing after slow update schedules and a lack of communication between the developer and users. The game was heading into the doomed-fad world of pogs and pet rocks, but Niantic have recently stepped up their game with massive updates including new Pokemon, retooled gym systems and monthly sales and events to maintain the attention of players.
The game has a solid core of hardcore players but lost many of the original millions who hopped onto the nostalgic trend of walking around their neighborhood to catch little creatures they remember from childhood. Niantic hopes legendary Pokemon will reinvigorate old users to download the app again and hop on. If you do so, make sure to get to level 15 in-game before you try to capture these strong Pokemon—only trainers above that level have access to raids.
Either way you slice it, a feature that gets people out and joining friends to take down the most powerful creatures in an augmented reality game sounds pretty cool, so make sure to get on Pokemon Go before the end of the weekend. If you want to watch some of the festivities in Chicago, you can watch a livestream of the event through Twitch on July 22 starting at 10am.