This week marks the third anniversary of Pokemon Go's release, and developer Niantic is celebrating the occasion with some exciting in-game events. For the next few weeks, players will be able to encounter a variety of new Shiny Pokemon. Niantic is also offering in-game bonuses to take advantage of, as well as new Special Research quests to complete--and the studio seems to be teasing some more Pokemon and features that may be on the way soon.
The festivities formally kicked off on June 28. Right now in the game, you'll have a chance of encountering Shiny Alolan forms of Rattata, Sandshrew, Vulpix, Diglett, Meowth, Geodude, Grimer, and Exeggutor. There will also be new avatar items inspired by each team leader's personal style available to purchase in the Style Shop.
Party hat Pikachu is returning to the game for a limited time as well. From June 28 to July 6, the special Pikachu may photobomb one of the Go Snapshots you take once per day; if that happens, the Pokemon will appear in the wild, giving you a chance to capture it. You'll also be able to hatch a party hat-wearing Pichu from 7 km eggs.
Niantic is also rolling out new Special Research quests. These will be available from June 28 to September 2 and are aimed at catching up lapsed players or jump-starting new ones. The quests will be open to everyone level 10 and up and will dole out "helpful rewards." Additionally, Niantic is reducing the amount of Stardust you need to use to trade by a fourth during the same time frame, and players who manage to defeat Raid Bosses quickly will earn extra Premier Balls when they battle alongside friends.
Most intriguingly, the special key art Niantic released to commemorate Pokemon Go's third anniversary--which you can see above--appears to tease some new additions to the game. Among the many Pokemon featured in the piece are Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott, the three starter Pokemon from the series' Gen 5 games, Black and White. Niantic similarly featured the series' Gen 4 starters in Go's second anniversary artwork, and they would eventually make their debut in the game a few months later, so we could see the first Gen 5 Pokemon arrive later this year.
On top of that, if you peer closely at the right side of the picture, you can spot two members of Team Rocket lurking in the shadows. Just what that signifies is unclear, but Pokemon Go dataminer Chrales recently discovered text about "purified Pokemon" within Go's code following its most recent update, so the Team Rocket tease may be related.
There's a lot more happening in Pokemon Go. Niantic recently brought the Legendary Raikou back for a special Raid day on June 29. July's new Field Research tasks are also now available as of July 1, and the game's next Community Day is set for July 21. The featured Pokemon this time will be Mudkip, the Water-type starter from Ruby and Sapphire.