It seems Team Rocket can't make their minds up - one minute they're causing havoc in Pokemon Go and then the next they're blasting off again! Now though, all signs point to their latest return to the mobile game being imminent.
After months of build up starting with the Grunts and then the GO Rocket leaders, Giovanni was finally added to Pokemon Go in November of last year. However, after a few months of battling, and saving a Legendary Shadow Pokemon or two, he along the rest of the evil organization left the game entirely.
"It seems that Team GO Rocket has been quiet lately," Niantic revealed on the official Pokemon Go blog. Interestingly, they did leave us with this tease: "We really don’t expect Team GO Rocket to be quiet all summer..."
Of course, their disappearance coincided with the worldwide pandemic. Maybe Team Rocket weren't washing their hands which caused them all to get ill.
What's more likely though, is Niantic took them out the game to encourage indoor play only. Regardless, their return is nigh.
Grunts in hot air balloons?
Before we share any speculation this is what we know in addition to the above tease. The first bit of news about a Team Rocket return came on June 30.
The Team Leaders - Blanche, Candela and Spark - found an ominous scrap of paper. It didn't need much deciphering as the images clearly showed a Team GO Rocket Grunt setting up an hot air balloon to throw a net over a Pikachu. Knowing Team Rocket we can certainly say their intentions aren't good.
Following that an image of some Clefairy surfaced which if you look very closely at, you can see a hot air balloon off in the distance. Blanche surmised that the previous image and this may be related, it's almost like Blanche is onto something...
The latest bit of information we have came on July 2 and July 3, which showed a Grunt climbing out of a hot air balloon to seemingly challenge a trainer. With a Poke Ball in hand it looks they're either trying to steal said trainers' Pokemon or start a battle.
Another scrap of paper shows Team Rocket flying high above a PokeStop. Does this suggest this latest encounter will only take place when near or spinning them - we'll have to wait and see.
Team Rocket are back
Niantic have been far from subtle here. We know Team Rocket's return will entail hot air balloons and some sort of illegal acts.
We're just waiting for the full details, which are expected very soon. Them climbing out and initiating a battle seems the most obvious feature but we've seen that already. As a result we expect something a little bit different.
Their return may even open up the Special Research that grants you an encounter with Giovanni, too. After all who doesn't want more opportunities to catch Shiny Legendary Pokemon!