Team Rocket made a mysterious appearance in Pokemon Go and now mysteriously they are gone all of a sudden. The classic Pokemon anime villains started appearing in Pokemon Go on July 24th 4:00 Eastern time.
A Pokestop would appear invaded and if you head over to it, you can battle Team Rocket grunt and grab one of their Pokemon.
The developer Niantic has teased the players about Team Rocket for some time now, so it seemed like this sudden introduction is the new summer update. However, to everyone’s surprise, they are already gone.
The invaded Pokestops encounters were really rare as I only was just one durin the whole day. So it was not clear if they were really one, but Niantic confirmed it in a tweet that Team Rocket and Shadow Pokémon are in fact not in the game right now:
“Professor Willow has noticed that sightings of discolored PokeStops and Pokemon enshrouded in a shadowy aura have…suddenly stopped?
Hmm… This phenomenon keeps getting more troubling the more we investigate it.”
It points to this being some sort of test: either a technical test, a way to gauge player reaction or, most likely, a little bit of both. That would also explain why there were so few invaded Pokestops around if Niantic was being a little cautious about the system before it let it out of the bag.
Other big new features have come with a slow rollout based on trainer-level, but there may have been reasons why this wouldn’t have worked this time around.
Expect them to come back, of course. We’ve already seen a huge number of shadow Pokémon in datamined files, in addition to a whole special research questline that we’ll likely be following as soon as these things release “for real”.
As to when that happens, it’s anyone’s guess: it would seem that the game client is ready to handle this, but there is likely still work that needs to be done on Niantic’s end.
At the very least this event gave us a horrifying image of a shadow Snorlax waiting in the woods for something…or someone. Stay tuned, because we’ll likely hear more about this soon.
Update: And they are back!