Pokemon Go Team Rocket Balloon Mystery Solved

Prepare for trouble.

Over the past few days, Niantic has been teasing a new edition to its ever-popular mobile game Pokemon Go. The teases have included “strange scraps” of paper with images of Team Rocket’s iconic hot air balloons with said images scattered amongst recent promotional material. However, little else was known about what was coming. That is, until recently.

In a new blog post Niantic shared information on what all of this meant:

“Mysterious balloons have popped up in the sky, and the culprit is Team GO Rocket! With these Team GO Rocket balloon invasions, you can now battle Team GO Rocket anywhere on the map. We ask that you keep an eye out for balloons in the sky and battle the Team GO Rocket Grunts and Leaders piloting them. Who knows—you may even find Giovanni! Reports show that they appear once every few hours, but could appear more often during takeovers.”

Essentially, this is an extension to the feature added last year which allowed players to battle Team Go Rocket grunts for extra items and the chance to capture rare Shadow Pokemon. Rather than having to visit Pokestops, trainers are now able to spot the Rocket Balloons floating above them and complete battles that way. It’s also confirmed in the post Trainers can battle Team Go Rocket Leaders Sierra, Cliff, Arlo, and ultimately Giovanni from these balloons. The instantly recognizable duo Jessie and James are still nowhere to be seen, however.


This seems to be another way Niantic is cleverly adapting Pokemon Go to the coronavirus pandemic. Typically, Pokemon Go forces players to leave the house in order to hunt Pokemon and take part in many of the game’s other features. However, with many countries in lockdown Niantic was forced to change things or risk losing out. So far, Niantic has implemented a whole host of changes including the introduction of remote raid passes allowing players to tackle raids from home, decreasing the walking distance for egg hatching, and increasing the effectiveness of incense.

It’s been a busy period for Pokemon Go news recently with Niantic dropping a new trailer for this year’s Pokemon Go Fest, directed by Rian Johnson (Knives Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). The company has also outlined plans for the events leading up to this year’s festival. With Pokemon Go just passing its 4th anniversary, it’s great to see Niantic still supporting it and adding plenty of new features.

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Sam Woods

Sam is the Managing Editor at DualShockers. He's been playing video games for as long as he can remember and you can regularly find him on his Nintendo Switch. When he's not playing games, he'll no doubt be suffering watching his beloved Ipswich Town.

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