Pokémon GO Fest 2021: Niantic Can Never Go Back To Before

GO Fest 2020 has just ended, so it's time to do what Pokémon GO players do best: get hyped for what's next, because Niantic is an event machine. Ultra Unlock is going to dominate August, and those events are the standard equation of shiny release + special spawns + raids = event. However, it's worth looking at the impact that a remote GO Fest has made on the game, because the changes made aren't things that Niantic can easily back away from. GO Fest 2021 is in the distant future, yes, but how will Niantic structure the event now that they've opened it up for the world this year?

Shaymin animation still. Credit: The Pokémon Company
Shaymin animation still. Credit: The Pokémon Company

Remote or In-Person?

Niantic has made their previously prohibitive events available to any trainer. Trainers were able to bring Safari Zones and GO Fest 2020 straight to their phones without having to take flights to Germany, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, and the other locations potential events would have been held. This was a terrific answer to a problem posed by a global pandemic, but once everything returns to a state of (somewhat) normalcy (fingers crossed with great intensity), Niantic knows they can't return to the old way. Fans speculating on what a GO Fest 2021 need look no further than Remote Raids. This feature was rolled out as a response to the quarantine and has since been implemented as a permanent part of the game.  The same should and likely will be true for GO Fest 2021. What remains to be seen, though, is when physical events are reintroduced, what bonus attending players will have versus remote players.

Mythical: Shaymin

Many thought that Shaymin would be the Mythical of choice for this year, but instead, Niantic skipped generations to the Unova region for Victini's release. The number of new generations Niantic can roll out, though, is limited… so it is a safe bet that Shaymin will be available sooner rather than later in the long future planned for GO Fests. 2021 seems the perfect placement.

Kanto Legendaries promo art. Credit: Niantic.
Kanto Legendaries promo art. Credit: Niantic.

Raids for GO Fest 2021

And finally, here's another we can never go back moment. Raids dominated the event this year, and they will be expected to do so going forward. GO Fest 2021 and future events will likely not debut entirely new bosses, but they seem like the perfect time to reintroduce long-absent Legendaries. Next year, considering how many players haven't been raiding since the beginning of the game, would be the perfect time to dedicate a day to the Legendary Birds, Mewtwo, and the Legendary Beasts.

It remains to be seen how Niantic will roll out GO Fest 2021, but if 2020 is just the start of the new standard for GO Fest, Pokémon GO trainers are in for years of fun.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.