Pokémon Go’s weirdest controversy to date appears to have come to an end: Niantic has removed legendary Pokémon from certain players’ collections, meaning there are no Pokémon Go trainers out there with one of the rare finds.
"We recently noticed that a few Legendary Pokémon got into a few accounts when they shouldn’t have," a representative for the developer told Polygon. "To preserve the game’s integrity and as a measure of fairness, we have rectified the situation and revoked the legendary Pokémon from the trainers’ accounts."
This invites as many questions as it answers, but we’ll start with what we know. The statement comes as a response to an Ohio player’s assertion that she’d caught the legendary bird Pokémon Articuno, a feat many of the most dedicated Pokémon Go community members thought impossible. Kaitlyn Covey and her mythical catch became stuff of Pokémon Go legend in just hours, largely due to how hard she worked to refute allegations that her achievement was a ruse.
Her screenshots appeared convincing, but those aren’t hard to fake; an email allegedly sent to Covey from Niantic misspelled the legendary Pokémon in question’s name as "Articundo." She later co-opted that spelling for a livestream in which she and another player claimed to demonstrate the captured Articuno in real time.
Niantic’s statement suggests that all of this was faked and confirms that Covey can’t possibly have an Articuno in her game at present. An earlier statement given to Geek.com seemed to confirm that Covey's Articuno was the result of a hack. (Covey has yet to respond to any of Niantic's comments.) The developer neglected to mention exactly when trainers’ legendaries were taken away, however. We also don’t know which ones were let loose, or for how long, or to whom.
Regardless, all signs point to Pokémon Go’s legendary Pokémon remaining untamed and undiscovered. Pokémon Go, for all of its issues, continues to provide bountiful mysteries.