If you’re still avidly following all the ins and outs of Pokémon GO, a surprise arrival in Ohio earlier this week might have piqued your interest. Articuno, one of the three mythical birds that represent Team Mystic in the game, was suddenly atop a gym in the area, making everyone question whether Niantic had secretly added some new Pokémon. The alternative was that players were simply cheating (which is already rampant in the game), and it seems Niantic agree.
In a statement sent to IGN (via Kotaku) addressing the issue after dedicated players flocked to Ohio in the hopes of catching their own Articuno, Niantic detailed how some accounts managed to gain access to legendary Pokémon accidentally. The studio has already removed these from accounts affected, but didn’t delve into any other information regarding when we might catch them for ourselves. Legally, of course.
Articuno appeared suddenly thanks to a trainer named Kaitlyn Covey. She claimed that Niantic had personally gifted her the mythical bird as an apology for having issues with the game – which already sounds absurd given the thousands of issues millions of players have had globally. In a futile attempt to prove that they had obtained the Pokémon legally and not through shady hacks, the Coveys even posted a picture of an email Niantic had sent them before gifting them Articuno…
…which then misspelt the name to Articundo.
Niantic also stated in a separate interview with Geek that they had never gifted any players with rare (and unobtainable Pokémon) as an apology, and have no plans to do so. Which makes perfect sense, especially if you want all players to be on a level playing field at all times. Nevermind that said mythical bird wouldn’t be all that rare if Niantic was handing out freebies for every support ticket they received.
For now Pokémon like Articuno, Zapdos and Mew will remain enigmas. Just like Ditto before them.