Earlier this week, Niantic employees confirmed they were working on a "huge event" for summer 2017 - something that would involve a new game mechanic. While the employees didn't give many details about the event, they hinted that it could have something to do with one of the features we saw in Pokemon Go's teaser trailer back in October 2015 that still haven't been implemented yet.
Summer is still a few months away, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate as to what this huge event could be. Here's a few of our best guesses as to what's coming next to Pokemon Go:
If we had only one guess what the summer's big event is, we'd guess that Legendary Pokemon were finally coming to Pokemon Go. Legendary Pokemon have been a hot topic for Pokemon Go players upon the game's release, although Niantic promised it wouldn't release any super-powerful Pokemon until the game was released worldwide.
Originally, Niantic envisioned hundreds of players working together to defeat Legendary Pokemon in MMORPG-style raids. In various interviews, Niantic CEO John Hanke hinted that could be difficult, given the game's higher than anticipated popularity.
Recently, a datamine of Pokemon Go's latest update found two lines of texts related to "raids" in a file related to notifications. This indicates that Niantic is still building a game mechanic related to raids. One popular theory is that Legendary Pokemon will "roam" across the planet and players will get notifications warning them that a Legendary Pokemon is about to appear in their area. That's not quite as impressive as the city-wide events Niantic holds for its other game Ingress, but it would be a convenient solution to figuring out how to let most players have a chance at Legendary Pokemon.
One of the most requested features in Pokemon Go is the ability to battle friends in one on one battles. While Pokemon Go's battling mechanic is much simpler than in the regular Pokemon games, plenty of players still want to find out if they have better Pokemon than their friends.
The biggest issue is that PvP battles wouldn't be much of an "event" by itself, unless Pokemon Go also adds some sort of ranking system. Challenging trainers to rise a worldwide rankings list sounds like a lot of fun, and could be a way to add another competitive aspect to Pokemon Go.
Even Niantic admits that Pokemon Go's current gym system is pretty awful. The gym metagame is mostly limited to a small percentage of high-end players who load up gyms with Dragonite, Gyarados, and other elite Pokemon to prevent more casual players from making any dent in trying to take an opposing team's gym down.
Niantic has promised that they're working on a major upgrade to gyms, one that would add some competitive balance and make the gyms more fun for casual players. Some think that Niantic's "cooperative gameplay" could relate to gyms, as it's already much easier to defeat a gym if multiple players attack it at once.
A gym overhaul would be nice, but it would need to be a major upgrade to keep fans from becoming pretty disappointed with the game. Maybe Niantic is thinking outside the box and planning to add some customization options to Pokemon Go? It would be a bit more fun to go to a gym specializing in a single type like in the main Pokemon games, where players could only defend with all Rock-Type Pokemon. That would at least prevent a situation where every gym is defended by the same handful of Pokemon.
This one is admittedly a longshot, but there's always a remote possibility that Pokemon Go could add a new generation of Pokemon to the game for a big summer splash. A lot of lapsed players picked up Pokemon Go in February to at least see what the Gen 2 Pokemon were all about. Adding another batch of 100 or so Pokemon might be an effective tool to bring even more players back to the game.
Still, this one seems unlikely at best. Pokemon Go waited seven months to add Gen 2 Pokemon to the game, so we probably wouldn't see more Pokemon until fall 2017 at the earliest. We also haven't seen any hint of the Gen 3 Pokemon in Pokemon Go's code, which means they aren't very far along with adding those Pokemon to the game. Also, while collecting new Pokemon is fun, it seems like Pokemon Go should fix some of the other underlying problems with the game.
Be sure to leave us a comment on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you want Pokemon Go's next big event to be!