Lets Speculate: What the future of Pokémon GO might look like

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Hello Trainers,

With the Season of Alola winding down, we have now been introduced to Pokémon from the 7th Generation of the Pokémon world. With only 8 Generations of Pokémon currently released, and a 9th on the way later this year, I thought it would be an excellent time to look at what the roadmap might look like for Pokémon releases over the next few years, and where the game might go from there.

I’m going to start with the higher-profile Pokémon that are missing from the generations that are mostly released, then we’ll talk about the mechanics from the core series games that are missing, and some stuff that Niantic is already working on, then finally we’ll go through the full generations that are missing. Then finally at the end, I’ll put it all together into what I think the timeline for all of this to come out looks like.

Disclaimer: The thoughts in this article are purely speculation and are my own thoughts on when we’ll see certain Pokémon and features, and what their release might look like. 

Pokémon that are still missing

Let’s start with everybody’s favourite subject, what Pokémon from already released generations are we still missing.

#352 Kecleon

Kecleon Normal

Kecleon is a Generation 3 Pokémon that we’ve still yet to see released in Pokémon Go. This is likely due to its abilities: Color Change which changes Kecleon’s type to the type of the move used on it, and its hidden ability Protean which changes Kecleon’s type to the type of the move its about to use. This obviously poses a problem for Pokémon Go, as type changing is not a thing that exists within the game as of yet.

When do I expect Kecleon will be in Pokémon Go?

I could sit here and tell you it’ll be soon, but I seriously doubt it will be anytime soon. The lack of any indication that there’s functionality to change a Pokémon’s type in the code suggests it’s not something that’s even remotely imminent. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it is what it is. My guess is Kelcleon is at least a 2023 release.

I also suspect that we’ll get a season-long research story based on Kecleon. We’ve waited several years for its release, and I think Niantic is going to make a big deal out of them finally releasing it to us. It will be interesting which route they decide to go when it comes to Kecleon’s abilities. Colour change or Protean, because they are both similar but very different and could drastically alter the useability of Kecleon, especially in PvP.

#489 Phione & #490 Manaphy

Phione Water Manaphy Water

Phione and Manaphy were both introduced in Generation 4 and are an interesting pair of Pokémon. Manaphy has the ability to breed despite the fact that it’s Mythical Pokémon. However, it can only breed with a Ditto or another Phione, and its offspring will always be Phione.

When do I expect Phione and Manaphy will be in Pokémon Go?

I think these two are suffering the same fate as Kecleon. Phione can only be obtained by breeding, and breeding isn’t a mechanic that exists in Pokémon Go just yet. Which makes Phione unobtainable. Again, given there haven’t been any hints found in the game code that breeding is being worked on it’s likely going to be a little bit. My guess is 2024

#493 Arceus

Arceus Normal

Ah, Arceus, or as my son calls him “The literal god of Pokémon.” Arceus was introduced in Generation 4, specifically on February 14, 2009. Arceus is a normal type, but its type changes based on the plate that it is given to hold. This presents us with the reason that it hasn’t been introduced into Pokémon Go or at least one of them, Pokémon in Pokémon Go cant hold items. 

When do I expect Arceus will be in Pokémon Go?

Pokémon in Pokémon Go can’t hold items, and as mentioned earlier Pokémon Go doesn’t have a mechanic set up to change the type of a Pokémon. Two mechanics need to be introduced into Pokémon before Arceus can be introduced. Type changing is something that I think we’ll see eventually, but I don’t think we’ll ever see held items in Pokémon Go. So how will Arceus work?

Pokémon Legend Arceus provides us with somewhat of an out to the held items problem, as in that game Arceus only needs to be “exposed” to a plate to have its type switched. Or in the case of the Legend plate, to allow Arceus to switch its type when Judgement is used to always be a super-effective move. This is the route I think Niantic will go, essentially allowing us to change Arceus “form” to whatever type we want. With candy and stardust of course.

I have an idea about when we’ll see Arceus but it’s not anytime soon. We’ll talk about that later.

#570 Zorua and #571 Zoroark

Zorua Dark Zoroark Dark

Zorua and Zoroark were introduced in Generation 5 and both have the ability Illusion. When a Pokémon with the ability Illusion enters battle it changes its appearance to the last conscious Pokémon in the trainer’s party. While the ability to change the appearance of a Pokémon exists in Pokémon Go, thank you Ditto, the ability to change the appearance of the last conscious Pokémon in your own party does not, yet.

When do I expect Zorua and Zoroark will be in Pokémon Go?

Halloween 2023. They are both Dark types, so it would make sense for them to have a Halloween event debut, much like we had Phantump, Trevenant, Pumpkaboo, and Gourgeist debut in 2021. Creating a mechanic Illusion to work in Pokémon Go shouldn’t prove to be too difficult, so I suspect we’ll get the pair for Halloween 2023.

Who knows, they may just introduce Hisuian Zorua and Hisuian Zoroark as well. Or they may introduce the Hisuian forms by themselves, as they don’t have abilities and it would be easier. Either way, I suspect we’ll get one or both forms later this year.

#636 Larvesta & #637 Volcarona

Larvesta BugFire Volcarona BugFire

Larvesta and Volcarona were both introduced in Generation 5. I find it odd that they haven’t been released yet, as they are a wildly popular pair of Pokémon. We got a hint that perhaps they were coming back in a data mine of 0.209.0 when the visual effects for Fiery Dance were found in a data mine, but that was over a year ago.

When do I expect Larvesta and Volcarona in Pokémon Go?

Soon. Very soon. The season of Alola ends June 1st and we haven’t had an announcement on what the next season will be. The next season is June 1st to August 1st which is peak summer in the Northern Hemisphere where Niantic is, so perhaps we’ll see a Larvesta/Volcarona release during the next season.

Here’s a way out there theory: Stufful and Bewear were introduced during its own Community Day, and it required 400 candies to evolve. You also need 400 Larvesta candies to evolve one into Volcarona. Will we get a Larvesta community day? Exclusive move Fiery Dance that has a 50% chance of raising the user’s Attack in PvP? July perhaps?

#647 Keldeo

Keldeo WaterFighting

Keldeo was introduced in Generation 5 and is the fourth member of the Swords of Justice Pokémon along with Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion. It doesn’t have a game-breaking ability that requires special treatment in Pokémon Go, so its delayed release is simply because it’s a Mythical Pokémon and Niantic likes to hold large-scale events or special research around the releases of Mythical Pokémon.

When do I expect Keldeo to be in Pokémon Go?

2023. I suspect that we’ll either get a special research story sometime in 2023 as part of a season-long event, or Keldeo will be the featured Pokémon of Go Fest 2023. 

What about <insert Pokémon name here>?

There are several other Pokémon that are missing from Gen 6 and 7, however, I’m going to skip going through the entire list as it’s extensive and we’ll likely see the majority of them release through regular events over the next year or so.

Game Features and Mechanics

We’ve already touched on some of the mechanics that are missing because some of the Pokémon not being in the game are directly related to a mechanic being missing but let’s go through them in detail.

Routes

Routes were first found in the game code in June of 2019. Almost 3 years later and we still haven’t seen the feature launched. I do suspect we’ll get it this year, as the code for it appears to be complete from what we can tell. I am hopeful that we get it with the next season, seems like a good time to release it with Summer coming in the Northern Hemisphere where Niantic is headquartered.

When do I expect routes will be in Pokémon Go?

I think that we’ll get this feature sometime during the next season, so sometime in the next three months. With the theme of the next season being the Season of Go it looks like Niantic is going to put an emphasis on exploration and getting trainers back into the world with the next season and releasing routes into the game would be an excellent way to reward trainers for doing just that. Provided the rewards are worth it and not a single poffin, or a handful of Pokéballs.

Type Changing

Kecleon and Arceus both have the ability to have their typing changed, and as of right now that mechanic doesn’t exist in Pokémon Go. As discussed above, both have the ability to change their typing in battle and that ability plays a large part in the strategy that goes into using those Pokémon. Now they could get around this problem with Arceus by just releasing an Arceus of each type, but I don’t think they will and that doesn’t solve the Kecleon problem.

I know this is probably more work than I think, but I think that Niantic will get this to work and it will add another level to PVP battles with Kecleon. They could even fake this and just put a flag on Kecleon and give all of its move STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) call that its hidden ability Proteon and call it a day.

When do I expect Type Changing will be in Pokémon Go?

My guess is this will be the next big game mechanic, and we’ll see the introduction of Kecleon along with it sometime in the Spring of 2023.

Breeding

Breeding is something that is integral to the competitive Pokémon scene, the ability to breed for a Pokémon with excellent stats, the right ability, and the correct nature, to bring into battle with you against other trainers is absolutely vital.

There are a couple of ways that they can go around this, both of which I believe will involve a Pokémon Nursery. I think that when Niantic finally does introduce breeding they’ll use a similar idea from another one of their games, Harry Potter Wizards Unite, Greenhouses.

Instead of a Greenhouse, we’ll get Nurseries. Houses on the world map that are already exiting stops. Somewhere we can go, “deposit” our Pokémon and then wait out the required time before returning to the nursery to pick up your egg. The big question is whether or not we’ll be allowed to deposit two of our own Pokémon or if you will have to pair up with someone, meet them at the Nursery and each deposit a Pokémon in order for each of you to get an egg.

When do I expect Breeding will be in Pokémon Go?

Spring/Summer of 2024. Oddly specific, I know but hear me out. Breeding will likely come with Phione and Manaphy and with them being water Pokémon I feel they’ll get a Spring/Summer release, and 2024 seems just seems like the most likely time to me.

Dynamaxing

Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced Dynamax Pokémon to the Pokémon world. For those unfamiliar with Dynamaxing, aside from just making the Pokémon really big it also increases the stats of the Pokémon but it only lasts for 3 turns. So it’s sorta like Mega Pokémon, but not really.

When do I expect Dynamaxing will be in Pokémon Go?

Sometime during the Spring/Summer season in 2023 when Galar is released. I suspect it’ll get treated the same way that Mega Pokémon are treated.

Generations that are still missing

Now, we can’t talk about the future of Pokémon Go without talking about the Pokémon Generations that have yet to make their appearances in Pokémon Go.

Release dates so far

Generation / Region Release Date
Gen 1 – Kanto July 6th, 2016 – Game release
Gen 2 – Johto December 12th, 2016 – Baby Pokémon only
February 17th, 2017 – First big Wave
Gen 3 – Hoenn October 20th, 2017 – Just ghost types for the Halloween event
December 9th, 2017 – First big wave
Gen 4 – Sinnoh October 16th, 2018
Gen 5 – Unova September 16th, 2019
Gen 6 – Kalos December 2nd, 2020
Gen 7 – Alola May 21st, 2018 – Alolan Forms of Kanto Pokémon
March 1st, 2022 – First big wave

Days between Generation Releases

Let’s take a look at how long Niantic has waited in between generations.

  • There were only 227 days between the releases of Generation 1 and Generation 2.
  • Generation 3 came out 295 days later.
  • Generation 4 came out 311 days after that.
  • Generation 5, 335 days.
  • Generation 6, 443 days. Interesting.
  • Generation 7, 454 days.

It seems that the last two generations have come out around 450 days, or 15 months, apart. It stands to reason that Niantic is timing the releases of new generations to coincide with the start of a new season, and 15 months seems like a reasonable amount of time to wait in between releases of Generations. Especially if you are releasing new Pokémon throughout those 15 months with various themed events.

The Jolly ‘ol Galar Region

Generation / Region Potential Release Date
Gen 8 – Galar June 1st, 2023

So when are we going to see Grookey, Scorbunny, Sobble, and the first wave of Generation 8 Pokémon? Yes, I realize we’ve already seen Zacian and Zamazenta, and the Galarian forms of previously released Pokémon. We’re talking about the starters and the big wave here.

I think it’s reasonable to assume that it’ll be at the beginning of a season and we’ll get an entire season dedicated to their release. With seasons being 3 months long if we math this out 15 months after the release of Generation 7 is June 1st, 2023.

Pokémon Go goes Scarlett and Violet

Generation / Region Potential Release Date
Gen 9 – ?? September 1st, 2024

458 days after that are the start of a new season and the day that I feel that we’ll see the release of Generation 9. Generation 10 on the other hand, is a bit of an interesting conundrum and it’s what sparked my desire to write this entire piece.

15 months after Generation 8 is released is September 1st, 2024, which is a theoretical release date for Generation 9 in Pokémon Go. It’s long enough after the core game release, and there’s enough time after the release of Gen 8 in Pokémon Go that it still fits into Niantic’s established timeline. However, that would put Generation 10’s release date at December 1st, 2025. This causes a problem…

Generation / Region Potential Release Date
Gen 10 – ?? December 1st, 2025 ???

The Generation 10 Conundrum

So here’s where things get interesting, Generation 9 is Scarlet and Violet is due to be released in November, likely around Christmas. Game Freak and the Pokémon company like to release new generations of Pokémon every three years. So if we get Generation 9 in November of 2022, we should get Generation 10 in November of 2025.

Did you see it? Game Freak and the Pokémon company stick to their patterns of releasing new generations every three years, and Niantic sticks to their patterns of releasing new generations every 15 months then we’ll get the main series Generation 10 game released a month before we would be slated to get Generation 10 released into Pokémon Go. Now while I think the idea of a cross-over event having the Generation debut in both games at the same time is a cool thought, Game Freak and Niantic don’t seem to agree.

So I think that we’ll see a delay between when we see Generation 10 the core game and Generation 10 the Pokémon Go release. This leads me to the thinking that they’ll likely add an extra season in between the release of Generation 8 and 9, to space out the introduction of new Generations into Pokémon Go and not make the gap between 9 and 10 so big.

So let’s look at that timeline again, with a little more realistic outlook on when Generation 9 and 10 might make their debuts in Pokémon Go.

Generation / Region Potential Release Date
Gen 8 – Galar June 1st, 2023
Gen 9 – ?? September 1st, 2024 December 1st, 2024
Gen 10 – ?? December 1st, 2025 June 1st, 2026

Generation 9 is pushed back to December of 2024, and Generation 10 gets a healthy 8-month gap between its November 2025 core game release and its June 2026 Pokémon Go release.

A potential timeline

Alright, so let’s put everything together into a neat and orderly timeline that Niantic will absolutely follow and prove that I’m right about everything. Right? ok, so maybe that’s a bit optimistic. I’ve thrown in a bonus prediction too, just for fun. See if you can catch it!

Date Potential Release Feature
Spring/Summer 2022 Routes
Summer 2022 A Larvesta Community Day 
Spring 2023 Kecleon – Type changing
Summer 2023 Generation 8 – Galar & Dynamaxing
Mid-June 2023 Go Fest 2023 – Keldeo
Fall 2023 Zorua and Zoroark for Hallowe’en
Mid-June 2024 Go Fest 2024 – Diancie
Summer 2024 Breeding along with Phione and Manaphy
Winter 2024 Generation 9 – Scarlet and Violet
2025 The Year of Arceus and the Hisuian region
Summer 2026 Generation 10 – ??

Arceus

I think, that in 2025 when we have a lull between Generation 9 and Generation 10 we’ll get Arceus and Arceus-related content for an entire year. 3 Special research quests that will span entire seasons, culminating with a fourth special research quest that ends with us being able to catch our very own Arceus.

Parting Words

As you can see from this potential timeline, Pokémon Go has a lot of content coming over the next few years. From full generations of Pokémon to breeding, to Pokémon Go specific features like Routes the next few years of Pokémon Go look to be very exciting and full of possibilities.

I am personally very excited to look back at this article over the next few years and see just how wrong right I was!

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