Pokémon GO will get its first huge update this week: 80+ new Pokémon, new items, and more


“When is another generation of Pokémon coming to Pokemon GO?!”

It’s a question that the game’s players (including myself) have been shouting since… well, pretty much immediately after the game launched.

We’ve finally got an official answer: “later this week”.

The once oh-so-shaky servers have stabilized. The game is now available in most of the world. And now, about seven months after the game’s initial launch… it’s finally time for a bunch of new Pokémon.

Niantic tells me that players will be able to find “over 80” new Johto Pokémon (those from 1999’s Pokémon Gold and Silver games, otherwise known as “Generation II”) within the next few days.

I asked for a date more precise than “later this week”, but the company declined to get more specific. When asked whether the new Pokémon would be added all at once or rolled out gradually, though, a rep replied that they would all “be discoverable as soon as the update goes live.”

Better news: the 80 they mentioned will all be discoverable “in the wild”, as they should be — not just from eggs, unlike the handful added in December.

A few other things the company confirmed:

  • New “evolution” items required to make certain Pokémon evolve are being added. Niantic tells me that evolution items will come from PokéStops, much like eggs/Pokeballs/etc. I wish they’d gotten a bit more creative there — it’s a good opportunity to add some sort of new gameplay mechanic.
  • Two new types of berries are coming: Nanab berries, which make Pokemon slower and thus easier to hit, and the Pinap Berry, which doubles the amount of candy you get if your next catch attempt is a success.
  • New avatar items — new hats, shirts, and pants are mentioned specifically.
  • They mentioned new “encounter gameplay”, but they didn’t shed too much light on what that means

They also released this trailer:

Though there’s not much in terms of new encounter gameplay mechanics on display there, worth noting is the new berry shortcut button at 0:16, that the backpack is seemingly now a dedicated Pokéball drawer, and that the camera button got moved up to the top of the screen (until 0:29, at which point it’s suddenly back at the bottom right. Whoops!)

Also worth noting: from 0:20 to 0:26, people are very clearly shown playing the game in mountains, woods, etc — the sorts of areas that the game has notoriously been pretty bad at populating, instead dumping lots and lots of Pokémon in Walmart parking lots. Wishful thinking by the trailer directors, or something more?

Alas, not mentioned thus far with regards to this update: a better tracking system, trading, or player-versus-player battling.

Anyway: this is by far the biggest batch of Pokémon added to the game since launch — we got Ditto back in November, a goofy little Pikachu in a Santa hat in December, and a handful of baby Pokémon that you could frustratingly only get from eggs (read: walking + random luck + maybe some premium items to speed up the process).

“But wait, Greg! Didn’t Generation II originally add 100 Pokémon, not ~80?”

Yeah, that’s where things get a little fuzzy. Niantic tells me “over 80” are being added, which leaves 20 sort of up in the air. 8 of those remaining 20 are the aforementioned babies(/their evolutions), and are already in the game. That leaves 12 — some of which will probably require those evolution items so Niantic isn’t counting them as discoverable “in the wild”, and 6 of which are presumably the Gen II “Legendary” Pokémon. Based on what we’ve seen with Gen I’s (still absent) Legendaries , those seem to be poker (Poké?) chips Niantic is hanging onto for later plans.

How exactly it’ll all break down, though, will be figured out as soon as the players (Shout out to Silph Road and r/PokemonGo!) actually get their hands on the new content. That sense of discovery as everyone works together to catalog everything is half the fun.

Will this update spark the same level of insanity that was seen with the game’s initial launch? Probably not. Does it need to? Nah. It’ll bring back a chunk of players who dropped off because they ran out of things to do, for sure — but striving for that same degree of ubiquitous and game-breaking popularity would be a fool’s errand.

And for the folks who’ve made it this far and thus might care about the nitty-gritty, a few things I noticed in some screenshots they sent over:


1) Sup, Murkrow?
2) That’s the new berry drawer, as teased in the trailer
3) Looks like berries can be purchased now, given the Shop icon in the upper right


1) Pokémon in GO seem to have genders now, with an icon marking which gender-variant you’re looking at.
2) That silhouette on the “Evolve” button, assuming it’s part of the final release, suggests the button will now show what a Pokémon will evolve into when it’s tapped. With the addition of evolution items allowing one Pokémon to have multiple possible evolutions, this should help prevent any surprises.