I Think The First Pokemon Go/Unite Crossover Was An Accident
Pokemon Go and Pokemon Unite are finally crossing over in the most Pokemon way ever: officially unannounced and entirely confusing. The connection between the upcoming Power Plant event in Go and the most recent Zeraora holowear in Unite is undeniable, but neither game has mentioned the cross-promotion. It may just be a weird coincidence, but it's yet another example of Pokemon missing a golden opportunity to connect its games together.
Pokemon Go’s Power Plant event begins on Wednesday and features a variety of Electric-type Pokemon appearing more frequently in the wild and in Field Research tasks, as well as the first appearances of Helioptile and Heliolisk. The event will continue the Season of Heritage’s storyline that sees Team Leader Spark investigating a mysterious door. Last week, Spark ventured to the Mountains of Power to recruit the help of Rock- and Steel-type Pokemon. Now, he’s headed to the Power Plant to find some Electric-type.
Meanwhile in Pokemon Unite, the bizarrely-themed Season 4: Agent of Disaster is coming to an end. The season featured Concert Style Holowear and Rock Festival outfits, as well as a cowboy/gambler Dark Suit player outfit and Dark Suit Style Holowear for Absol. I guess they were going for Johnny Cash? No one is quite sure how music and fancy cowboys were meant to go together. While almost all of this month’s Holowear options have been music themed, the one exception is Power Plant Style – an orange jumpsuit for Zeraora.
Is this the first crossover between Go and Unite, or just a huge coincidence? The Kanto Power Plant is an iconic location from Pokemon Red & Blue where players could find a variety of Electric-type Pokemon, as well as Zapdos, so using it as a theme in Go and Unite isn’t totally unexpected. Still, the timing is so perfect that it makes me think it had to be planned, particularly since the Zeraora outfit is so out of theme with the rest of the season.
If this is a legitimate crossover, then I’m even more confused. Zeraora should be appearing in Go as a raid boss or as a reward for a new Breakthrough Research Assignment. Alternatively, Heliolisk should be joining Unite this week instead of Trevenant, since its getting introduced to Go at the same time. It feels like this crossover was either planned extremely last minute or without any care for how to effectively cross-promote the games, or both.
Pokemon clearly understands how to do crossovers. The mainline RPGs, anime series, and TCG have always been aligned with each other, moving through generations together and cross-promoting with promo cards, mystery gifts, and movies. The most recent film, Secrets of the Jungle, coincided with Zarude’s debut to Sword & Shield and its introduction to the trading card game in the Vivid Voltage expansion. Pokemon Go also featured a Secrets of the Jungle research assignment, which introduced Zarude to the game for the first time. A cross-game Zarude event made its arrival feel so much more special. So why is the Power Plant event so half-baked?
Riot set a great example for mobile game crossover events. When Arcane premiered on Netflix last year, every League-inspired game featured an Arcane event. League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, and Wild Rift all came together to celebrate the series. Weeks later when Ruined King released, every game featured a short tie-in event to promote it.
It’s bizarre that Pokemon has so many mobile games but none of them are connected in any way. With the relaunch of Pokemon TCG Online coming soon, it would be great to see more continuity between Go, Unite, TCG Live, Cafe Mix, and Masters EX. We shouldn’t ever have to wonder if a crossover was just a coincidence. The secrets of the Jungle event was a great start, but we don’t need to wait for a big movie to bring the world of Pokemon together.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the next big opportunity for a meaningful Pokemon crossover, but so far there’s been no indication that the card game, anime, or any of the mobile games has anything planned for it. I’m expecting Hisui Style Holowear at the very least, but I’d love to see a more unified and focused version of Pokemon.
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