The unprecedented mobile augmented reality game Pokemon GO has been out for close to a month at this point, but given the near absence of guidance given to players by its developer Niantic Labs, much of the game still remains a puzzle. Currently, only 145 of the game’s 151 Pokemon are catchable, and as such the most persistent and niggling mystery has been the existence of the remaining Legendary and Mythical Pokemon, otherwise known as “legendaries.”
While especially eager players have mined the code of Pokemon GO and confirmed that these remaining six Pokemon have indeed been programmed into the game, the continued elusiveness of the ”legendaries” has proved fertile ground for a number of fan theories on what Niantic has planned for them in future updates. From special appearances at official events, to the eventual release of the game in South America, anything goes for where they’ll appear. Keep reading for a lowdown on the most plausible theories so far.
When players worldwide slowly began to realize that nobody was catching, or even catching sight of the three Legendary Bird Pokemon, speculation ran rampant on their whereabouts. Fire-type Moltres was thought to be residing in volcanoes, Ice-type Articuno in Arctic tundras, and Electric-type Zapdos in abandoned power plants.
A more likely lead, however, is the significance of the three birds as the emblems of the game’s three teams – Moltres for Valor, Articuno for Mystic, and Zapdos for Instinct. While many at first thought little of this detail, Niantic CEO John Hanke has since hinted that players may only be able to catch the particular Legendary Bird associated with their own team. As more light is shed on the importance of the team system in gameplay — most notably in gyms — it’s not too far of a stretch to consider that one way of making your team’s Legendary Bird to appear might be to capture all the gyms within a given municipal area.
Mew & Mewtwo
As the only two Mythical Pokemon within the original 151, Mew and Mewtwo have also received no shortage of attention. Mew, the ancestor of all Pokemon, was infamously difficult to catch in the original Game Boy titles, being practically nonexistent in the wild and only obtainable through special download events or mystery gifts.
However, some devotees to the franchise have dug up a small clue from 1996’s Pokemon Red & Blue, where a journal found in Pokemon Mansion on Cinnabar Island shed light on Mew’s origins, specifically deep in the jungles of the South American country of Guyana. As Pokemon GO largely places wild Pokemon in their logical habitats (such as Water types residing near bodies of water), it’s been theorized that Mew might be laying low in the Amazonian brush, but given the monumental amount of effort required for a microscopic chance of success, suffice to say nobody has set out to prove this theory thus far.
Meanwhile, others have entertained the notion that Mew’s gene-spliced clone Mewtwo might be hiding out in the infamous Area 51, but Mewtwo’s appearance in the first Pokemon GO trailer certainly makes its existence in the game the more credible of the two. The scene Mewtwo appears in is particularly telling — set in the middle of Times Square, a countdown timer starts as hundreds of players converge on Mewtwo, collectively battling it and whittling its HP down until they are finally able to catch it as a group. It’s no stretch of the imagination to predict that Niantic might host events in the future where a select group of the best trainers will have the chance to catch Mewtwo and the other legendaries.
While not technically a legendary, amorphic shapeshifter Ditto has surprisingly become the subject of the most fervor among the game’s enthusiasts. This might be due to the widespread belief that Ditto may be hiding in plain sight given its ability to transmogrify into other Pokemon. To this end, players have tried to trigger its appearance by renaming every available Pokemon “Ditto,” renaming Pikachu with a :) smiley face to resemble the anime, and other zany methods involving QR codes and the in-game camera, all to no avail.
Elsewhere, enthusiasts postulate that Ditto is central to an upcoming version of the game that will bring the ability to breed Pokemon, as Ditto is able to create new eggs with almost any Pokemon. There’s also the belief that Ditto is a failed clone of Mew, and as such it qualifies as a legendary and is reserved for a later reveal. However, the most probable theory brings us back to South America, where Ditto might be its regionally exclusive Pokemon, much like Tauros is to North America and Farfetch’d to Asia. The game has yet to launch there, however this doesn’t explain why nobody has hatched Ditto from an egg as the other regional exclusives have been known to do.
While it’s all fun and games to speculate about the legendaries, at the end of the day all we can do is wait for Niantic to make its move. Given the developer’s reputation for minimal communication with fans, keep an eye for the excitement of the community to reach fever pitch in the coming weeks.