It’s been almost a week since anyone’s seen Spark, leader of Pokémon Go’s Team Instinct. The game’s most recent update has a bug that replaces the blond pretty boy with Team Valor head Candela, leaving Instinct members confused and concerned.
Reports that Spark had disappeared from the game’s Appraisal tool first came on July 20, when the update launched. That section is the main place that trainers can see the leader of their chosen team; it’s the only part of Pokémon Go that features them heavily. But when Instinct-affiliated players went to have Spark rate how good their Pokémon were, they found Candela in his place.
Anyone who was hardcore into Pokémon Go last summer should remember just how attached fans got to their team leaders. Candela and Team Mystic’s Blanche won over artists with their strong personalities, while Spark — whose team was already known as the least popular of the three — proved more divisive.
As the only boy in the group, some found him dopey and bland; others immediately wanted to take the lovable loser under their wing. The most typical image of Spark was of him dabbing, which should say it all; he was the stuff of memes, quick.
Now that he’s missing in action, Spark’s followers are begging Niantic to help bring him home. There’s missing posters on milk cartons — fictional ones, that is — and cries for help on Twitter.
We’ve asked Niantic what the deal is with Spark, and when we can expect our sweet, dabbing boy back. We can’t get any more of that promised Pokémon Go lore without him, after all.
Update: A spokesperson for Niantic confirmed to Polygon that Spark will return in the game’s next client update. There’s no timeline on when that will be live yet, but at least we know that the leader of Team Instinct is safe and sound.