It’s been nearly three years since the release of Pokémon Go. Consequently, Niantic has announced festivities for the next few weeks to celebrate the occasion. As of 1 PM PT on June 28, players now have a chance of encountering the Shiny versions of some Pokémon in their Alolan forms: Rattata, Sandshrew, Vulpix, Diglett, Meowth, Geodude, Grimer, and Exeggutor. Additionally, new items were added to the Style Shop for players to customize their trainer avatars. The new avatar items feature the team leaders’ personal styles.
From now until July 6, players will can encounter a Pikachu wearing a party hat to commemorate the anniversary celebration as Pikachu has in the past. The chance to catch party hat Pikachu will come once per day when players take a GO Snapshot photo. Pikachu isn’t the only Pokémon celebrating with a hat; party-hat-wearing-Pichu will be available to hatch from 7 km eggs.
Lastly, there are a few features that will last until September 2. Players at level 10 or higher can complete new Special Research tasks for rewards. Taking down Raid Bosses will be faster and result in extra bonus Premier Balls to catch them with after the battle. Trading Pokémon will require 1/4th less Stardust than usual.
Though that’s it for the official announcements, Niantic left a subtle hint toward something bigger in the art featured in their blog post. The special third anniversary art includes three Pokémon yet to be seen in Pokémon Go, as they’re from the fifth generation (Gen 5) of games within the franchise: Snivy, Oshawott, and Tepig. The Pokémon Black and White starters appear among the other Pokémon in the art, somewhat blending in until you take a closer look.
Last year, Niantic pulled a similar move, including the then unavailable Gen 4 starters, Chimchar, Piplup, and Turtwig, in art for the game’s second anniversary celebration, months ahead of their official arrival to the game. Just like in 2018, Niantic hasn’t currently made any official announcements about making Gen 5 Pokémon available in Pokémon Go yet, but this inclusion seems to indicate that such an update could be coming sooner rather than later.
In addition to the anniversary celebration, players will have new quests and Field Research opportunities to tackle throughout the month of July, through which they may encounter a couple Hoenn Legendaries and a new, Shiny Spinda.