It looks like Team Rocket are going on an extended vacation over the summer in Pokemon Go. Niantic revealed that the villainous team have been quiet as of late, and therefore there will be no Team GO Rocket Special Research available in May through to September.
"Professor Willow and the team find this very odd and will continue to investigate to see if they can find any leads," the Pokemon Go Live blog shared. "We hope this means this is the last we’ll see of Team GO Rocket, but knowing the capabilities of these villains, we highly doubt that’s the case!"
However, Niantic finished by saying that they don't expect Team Rocket to be quiet all summer. This looks a clear hint that they will indeed return sooner rather than later.
Where's Team Rocket really?
Their gradual departure from the mobile game makes for good lore but in reality there is a more simple reason they are on vacation. Interacting with Team Rocket be it battling Grunts, Leaders or Giovanni himself requires you to visit PokeStops – something which you invariably need to leave your house to do.
With the ongoing health crisis around the world, Niantic are still discouraging trainers from playing while on the go. The game has been altered over the last month or two to make Pokemon Go more play at home friendly.
The radius in which you can access gyms and spin PokeStops has been doubled, and there has even been a Remote Raid Pass introduced. As the name suggests this allows you to play Raid Battles remotely.
In the meantime Team Rocket aren't gone completely. Grunts are still sporadically appearing at PokeStops which gives you a chance to save and purify those Shadow Pokemon.
Niantic's expectation of TR returning before the summer ends sounds like them hedging that lockdown rules around the world will soften in the coming weeks and months. Whether it will be business as usual with the monthly Giovanni Special Research returning, or a new feature, remains to be seen.
Maybe Giovanni is just giving his Leaders and Grunts a well deserved holiday instead, though...