Hey guys! It’s a topic that’s been on my mind for the past couple of years, but it’s very prominent right now. Since the launch of Pokemon GO, the distribution and release of the different generations has differed greatly, and I wanted to give my analysis and thoughts, from Kanto to Kalos (and technically speaking Alola and Galar too).
Of course, the release of the game meant the release of almost every Pokemon in the Kanto Pokedex. Days were peaceful, we had bad server problems, but we still had 145 Pokemon at our disposal, including regionals. Everything that was out could be caught, no matter the circumstance. You could walk 10km to hatch an Eevee or just sprint with a crowd to catch a Vaporeon. Dratini nests were a thing. The only things that were missing were Ditto and the Legendaries, Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo, and the Mythical Mew. Of course, Ditto was released later after Niantic figured out how to work it in (successfully) in November 2016, and the Legendary Birds came out with the launch of Legendary Raids after the first GO Fest in summer 2017. Mewtwo became part of the (at the time) very controversial EX Raids, and Mew was released along with the Field Research system in spring 2018. Now, Kanto has had a lot of its own events, including regionals hatching from 7km Eggs in GO Fest-related events. I mean, I’m tired of all the Kanto events, but I know people still love them for Charmander.
No Kanto Pokemon has been unreleased.
Johto was a funny one, as the Christmas 2016 event saw the release of the Gen 2 baby Pokemon (excluding Tyrogue) and Togetic. The rest of the non-Legendary Johto spawns dropped in early 2017. I say it’s funny because for us, it dropped in the middle of the night. And almost everything was released at that point, too. Unown was hella rare (and still is outside of events), but still. I remember having so much fun filling out my Pokedex of new Johto Pokemon during my trip to Dublin!
Of course, Lugia, Raikou, Entei, Suicune and Ho-Oh were able to be raided for later in 2017, and Delibird was released as the festive exclusive Pokemon. However, this also coincided with the release of Hoenn Pokemon, but this was the earliest time to release the Santa bird since the Johto release.
Celebi was released as part of the GO Fest Research, but then was out worldwide in August 2018. Smeargle was available worldwide in February 2019, and almost made my good friend Tim quit Pokemon GO entirely.
As of writing, all baby Pokemon from Johto are not available in-game due to the ever-changing egg pool, except for certain events.
Hoenn’s release was very different from the last two, as for the most part it focused on different themes, and this was pretty interesting. In October 2017, the five Ghost-types were released. In December 2017, the main Hoenn release was out, which included the 50 Pokemon that didn’t really fit into any of the other pre-determined categories, such as the starters. This also came into line with the newly-implemented Weather feature. In the later portion of December 2017, an aquatic themed release with Ice- and Water-types. January 2018 gave us the desert-theme, and February 2018 gave us the sky-theme. While not as plentiful as I’d have liked, I still enjoyed the release waves as they were like this.
Along with these, Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza were released along with these themes. Latios and Latias were also released in April 2018 in Raids, and during summer 2018, the Regi trio were released, as was Spinda from Field Research task. Deoxys became part of the EX Raid roster in October 2018, and the Nincada line was released in November 2018, Clamperl line had its own Limited Research event in February 2019, and Jirachi was available for GO Fest 2019 attendees, and then made available in August 2019 in Special Research.
Of course, Kecleon is controversially still not available in Pokemon GO. And here is where we start to see the slippery slope of releases.
But here’s the kicker – Nincada could have been released as part of the desert theme, and Clamperl for the aquatic theme. But nope. Azurill, Shedinja and Wynaut are, as of writing, unavailable at this time.
Sinnoh was the region of the evolution, where a lot of Pokemon got new evolutions. However, there were no themes to these waves, and we had a mix of bulky releases (like the first wave of 26), and instances were only one Pokemon was released at a time (such as Happiny for Valentine’s Day). The Sinnoh Stone brought the evolved forms of existing Pokemon to the game, preventing us from mass evolving the likes of a billion Murkrow that we’d had saved up, but these were divided into two groups for some reason (three if you count Mamoswine for Swinub Community Day).
It was a real messy time, and in came the complaints that we caught stuff, and that was it. The beginning of the issues was probably the release of the Gible line, where it was made extremely rare, and it just got a lot worse from there.
As of writing, all baby Pokemon with the exception of Riolu are also not available in-game due to the ever-changing egg pool, except for certain events. Likewise, Phione, Manaphy, Shaymin and Arceus have never been released. Rotom has been available but only for GO Fest attendees in 2020.
Unova is probably the most problematic region to date, with Kalos partly to blame for this. The main wave being released in September 2019 brought 46 Pokemon, six of which were regional exclusive (the elemental monkeys). Yamask became the Halloween exclusive Pokemon for some reason (y’know, I could understand Spiritomb, but Yamask? No.).
The Unova drops actually provided me with the inspiration for the title – these were drip-fed, very slowly. You would get one or two Pokemon released at a time, and this isn’t right for a region with the largest Pokedex. There were only two substantial waves – September 2019 and January 2020 – and the latter I don’t have a good portion of the Pokemon still – such as Axew or Tirtouga. Deino was the centre of a massive outrage during Dragon Week in 2020, as it was the focal Pokemon and its spawn rates weren’t boosted – I only just have a Hydreigon now. Even Genesect and Victini, including the former’s shiny variant, were released before most of the Gen 4 Mythicals. Genesect has had three separate outings in 2020 alone, and is set for another in 2021 with its Burn Drive variant.
There are still a lot of unreleased Unova Pokemon lines that could have belonged in other events – Munna, Zorua, Frillish, Tynamo, Mienfoo, Druddigon and Larvesta have not been released, while Vanillite has just been released for the holiday season (with a godawful catch rate at that). I expect Keldeo and both forms of Meloetta would be released later down the line.
A lot of Pokemon were, once again, locked behind GO Battle League, Raids or Eggs, such as Sandile, Vullaby and Timburr. Overall this was even messier than Sinnoh’s release waves.
Kalos has come under a lot of heat already. A lot of people have forgotten that Unova Pokemon still haven’t been released, and yet Kalos is starting up. Not only that, the timed Research for Kalos relied on Pokemon, especially starters, that weren’t spawning commonly at all. As this was supposed to be a boosted event, it didn’t bode well at all. I mean, it took me two days to find a Chespin, so…
Also…they. Gave. An. Entire. Teaser. For. Espurr. I mean, I like Espurr, but still…
As this is the smallest region in terms of Pokedex size, I don’t see them adopting a fully fleshed-out release wave. Perhaps they are combining the release waves of Kalos and Unova to make up for Kalos’s shortfall, and because Unova is so big? That is certainly a possibility. Of course, Kalos also has three Legendary Pokemon. To compensate, they may end up releasing some Alolan Legendaries alongside.
The question is will they ever release AZ’s Floette, and if so, in what capacity?
The Alola region saw the release of its regional variants in May 2018, with each gradually being rolled out – Exeggutor, Geodude, Diglett and Rattata being released into the wild, Vulpix, Sandshrew, Meowth and Grimer being locked behind eggs and Raichu and Marowak being locked behind Raids.
Of course, some of these Pokemon have had events where they have been catchable in the wild, but have mostly stayed as they are, which has caused controversy, especially when Raichu and Marowak are taken out of Raid pools and are therefore not available at all in-game.
Galar, much like Alola, saw the release of the regional variants – Weezing and Ponyta were locked behind raids and have fallen out of circulation. Ponyta is now available in Eggs, as are Meowth, Farfetch’d, Zigzagoon, Darumaka and Stunfisk, and Obstagoon, Sirfetch’d and Perrserker are available via evolution. Yamask, as well as Runerigus, were released for Halloween 2020 as Halloween exclusive (again), but you were only able to obtain one. You’re screwed if you ended up with a 10/10/10.
And we can’t ignore the fact that Niantic actively encouraged and persuaded people to pay £8 for a Galarian Mr. Mime, then forced you to evolve that one to get a (possibly higher IV) second Mr. Mime.
I dread having to sift through eggs for Toxel though. I really do.
I wrote this on a day when I was practically asleep all day. I just wanted to get it done!