There’s been a rare sighting in Pokémon Go. No, not a new community update from Niantic – something far more unusual: the legendary Pokémon Articuno.
Articuno is one of few critters you can’t currently catch. Fans have snooped into Pokémon Go’s files and seen Articuno in there, waiting for release. But, to date, it has remained unobtainable.
Until now! Maybe.
Multiple Reddit users have spotted an Articuno roosting atop gyms in Ohio, and provided screenshots and video to back this up.
That people are seeing an Articuno in their games is not in doubt. It’s there, but what it really means is another thing entirely.
Articuno’s owner, kaitcovey, posted about her prize on her local Pokémon Go Facebook group. Her story is that she received the Pokémon as part of an apology from developer Niantic, after contacting them via email about an issue.
It sounds possible, but unlikely – there has been no suggestion that legendaries would be given away in this manner. Rather, the expectation is that they are being saved for large public events at key locations.
Also, considering the rather predictable anger among fans about the way the ultra-rare Pokémon have apparently first appeared, it would be another awful PR move.
There are other explanations, however.
One possibility is that the Pokémon’s data has been modified so that the game identifies it as Articuno. It would require the editing of the creature’s data via an external tool – which is not beyond the realms of fantasy. It would also mean another headache for Niantic to fix if the exploit became widespread.
Another possibility is a glitch in the game which has accidentally released an Articuno or has somehow glitched another Pokémon into Articuno once caught. There was a report today of a visual bug which caused a Caterpie to reveal itself as a Charizard once captured.
The issue is confused by others jumping on the bandwagon with more obvious fakes.
Whatever the truth, it’s currently another point of contention for fans of the game.