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Legendary Pokémon head to Pokémon Go by the year’s end

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Niantic CEO promises that we’ll be able to really catch ‘em all

articuno Niantic via Imgur

Rare Pokémon, like Mew and Mewtwo, are set to appear in Pokémon Go by 2017’s end. That’s according to John Hanke, CEO of developer Niantic.

In an interview with the German edition of Wired, Hanke explained that making legendary Pokémon available to catch in the mobile take on the franchise is a priority for the team this year.

“I can say with certainty that we will see it more this year,” Hanke said when asked about when legendary Pokémon are due to arrive.

Players shouldn’t expect every rare Pokémon from the first and second generations to appear just yet, though. Wired specifically called out just five of them: Mew, Mewtwo and the three legendary birds. Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres are already included in Pokémon Go in an indirect fashion: They’re the mascots for the game’s three teams.

We spoke to Tatsuo Nomura, who serves as a director on Pokémon Go, earlier this month at Game Developers Conference, where he explained some of the thought process behind holding certain Pokémon back from the game.

“The value of Pokémon is that each one is very unique, and they have their own stories and characteristics,” he explained. “I do want to preserve and if possible enhance that aspect as they’re not all the same.”

Although he was talking about Ditto, an uncommon Pokémon whose late introduction to Pokémon Go caused a stir last fall, the same philosophy likely applies to legendary Pokémon. These one-of-a-kind monsters are hard to find in the mainline Pokémon games, so it’s no surprise that Niantic intends to make their debut appearances special for the mobile take.

Still, eager players who just want to catch them all have gone to great lengths to emulate rare monsters for their collections. Controversy broke out last summer when a player alleged said already caught an Articuno, despite it not being available in the wild by all other accounts. It turns out that certain users received the Pokémon by accident, Niantic admitted after the story went viral.

Time will tell when we’ll be able to catch an Articuno and other legendaries for real. Expect more monsters to arrive after the game’s trading feature, which Nomura told Polygon is currently in the works.