The Ultra Beasts are coming to Pokemon Go. Developer Niantic actually confirmed this on Twitter by posting a video of Nihilego, the alien creature that looks like a mix between Sun & Moon protagonist Lillie and a jellyfish. It was only a matter of time, there are already plenty of Gen 7 Pokemon available and even more coming with Alolan-themed challenges, but I’m a little worried.
Ultra Beasts are cool. Whether you like all of the designs, some of them, or none of them, the idea of alien creatures (we’re not even sure if it’s Pokemon) invading our world is great. They were a bit underused in Sun & Moon, but came into their own in the expanded sequel story, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. The Pokemon – sorry, beasts – themselves are well designed, in my opinion, ending up leaning more towards the cool than the weird. A bodybuilding bug? A dragon who Actually looks like he wants to eat you rather than deliver your mail? From origami Grass-types to fiery clowns, Ultra Beasts have given Pokemon designers the freedom to go wild, and I love the results. Xurkitree is probably my favorite of the bunch, but I’m biased towards electric types.
Another element that added to the coolness of Ultra Beasts is how we found them. Great cracks in the skies, tears in reality letting goofy creatures escape into our dimension. That’s great, if only we had Dynamax back then and could have played kaiju battles against alien invaders. Well, at least we had Z crystals. What a great mechanic they were. Right?
All kidding aside, finding the Ultra Beasts was much cooler than regular Legendary Pokémon, which to be honest has been boring since Entei, Suicune, and Raikou. In virtually every game since you’ve been led to a static legend at the end of a path, or found them wandering the wilds in an awe-inspiring display of lack of originality. Ultra Beasts appearing from the sky felt different, even if it wasn’t. It’s amazing what a cutscene can do.
This is where Pokemon Go comes in. Legendary Pokemon are only released in raids, Mythicals come in Special Research. The former was once a reward as a Weekly Research Breakthrough, but now we have Grimer instead. Grimer. There hasn’t been a legendary research breakthrough since 2019. But that’s another story. Did you know that the Lake Trio can be encountered in the wild, but spawn rates are ridiculously low? It’s awesome. I love it. Ultra Beasts need to be implemented in an equally cool and new way if they are to have any impact on the game.
I pretty much ignore all of the Legendary Pokemon that go into raids, at least the first time around. At this point in Pokemon Go, I know every raid boss will be reissued, usually within a year, with the added possibility of being shiny. Why waste expensive Raid Passes when I know this eventuality almost for certain? That means I don’t have a Tapus yet, but I don’t care to be honest. They’re not very good for PvP or PvE, and my Pokedex is in no rush to be refilled.
The Ultra Beasts ideally need a whole new way to meet them. I suspect Nihilego will be available through Special Research to be honest, but the trailer portal might mean something cooler. My realistic hope is that these portals appear in the Pokemon Go world similar to the Team Go Rocket balloons, and you have to click on them to activate the encounter. This could also be implemented in conjunction with Special Research, such as Giovanni. Complete themed sets of tasks, then portals will start to appear. Maybe there are fake ones in the same way as Giovanni’s Decoy Grunts, or cheats like the Ultra Wormholes in Sun & Moon, each offering different encounters that aren’t quite the Ultra Beast you search. I don’t know, I’m not a game designer.
I can’t wait to see Ultra Beasts come to Pokemon Go, I just hope Niantic gives them the justice they deserve. I can’t take care of another raid boss.
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