While Pokémon GO hosted their annual GO Fest as a remote event this year, there were select cities that hosted in-person events. These were the first on-location festivities that Niantic has hosted since the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of all in-person Safari Zones and GO Fests of 2021. In the announcement for these events, Niantic suggested that there would be no major bonus that remote players would miss out on and that the in-person activity was essentially photo-ops. However, pictures began to appear on social media of a gigantic raid egg that had appeared in Chicago. Not in Pokémon GO, but in real life. What actually happened with this egg at GO Fest 2021?
As time went on, the egg lit up. The egg, which Niantic confirmed was 50-feet tall on their YouTube livestream titled "Together We Raid: Legendary Night," then glowed with Hoopa's rings which the event held responsible for the influx of Legendary Pokémon. This real-life structure began to behave quite like a raid egg in the game, so when it 'hatched,' it displayed Pokémon GO's depiction of the Legendary Pokémon featured at GO Fest 2021. A gigantic Mewtwo towered over players. A gargantuan Rayquaza thrashed above trainers.
Personally, I think this was a great way to offer an amazing real-life experience without making remote players feel as if they missed out. Remote Pokémon GO players still received the exact same content in the game, while players who were able to go to Chicago in person could enjoy an incredible visual show. It'll be interesting to see how Niantic balances in-person activity with remote events in the future. GO Fest will almost certainly have in-person activity next year, as Niantic has shown dedication to returning the game to its previous ideology, which encourages players to get out there and walk. The question remains, though, if GO Fest 2022 has a land-locked location, will there be a remote version?