Pokemon GO to get legendary Pokemon by end of the year

One of the biggest problems that plagued the Pokemon GO AR game after its initial hype was the lack of variety of monsters, despite the original game itself having hundreds. That was somewhat rectified when developers Niantic Labs unleashed the Generation 2 monsters last month as a Valentine's gift to players, but there were still some missing, even from Gen 1. Those are the one-of-a-kind legendary Pokemon and, according to Niantic CEO John Hanke, those could come before 2017 ends.

Don't get too excited, at least not yet. There's still no definite word on which Pokemon Hanke was referring to, let alone when they'd actually arrive. According to WIRED Germany, who made the interview with Niantic Labs' head honcho, those include Mew and Mewtwo as well as the legendary birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. All five are part of the first generation of Pokemon.

Bringing those Pokemon to the game is one thing. Making them fit into the game's overall lore is another. In the original Game Boy incarnation of the game, these five Pokemon are not only rare, there's also just one of each. And unlike other species in the game, these have their own special stories.

How you incorporate those elements in a game that spans the whole real-world planet with thousands of players is definitely going to be a game design challenge. Which is probably why it will take that long for Niantic to put them into the game. Provided there are no slip-ups like before.

If legendary Pokemon are slated for this year, then it raises the question of whether this is one of the three major updates to the game promised by Hanke himself. There's been speculation that player vs. player and improved gym mechanics are also due this year, with monster trading taking a backseat.