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Pokémon GO unlocking Legendary Pokémon starting this weekend

Pokémon GO has been celebrating its first anniversary with in-app promotions and a special in-person event, and today Niantic confirmed that Legendary Pokémon will soon be unlocked in the game. The first Legendary Pokémon will be unlocked on Saturday at the first-ever Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, then globally the next day.

Niantic is using the recently introduced raid battles feature at the updated gyms in the game to unlock the Legendary Pokémon:

On July 22, thousands of Trainers in Grant Park for Pokémon GO Fest and the millions of others around the world will be working together to unlock in-game bonuses for the entire Pokémon GO community. If they manage to catch enough Pokémon during the Pokémon GO Fest Challenge Windows, the first Legendary Pokémon will be revealed in Grant Park. If the Trainers in Chicago succeed in defeating the Legendary Pokémon, that Pokémon will start appearing in Raid Battles around the world, after Pokémon GO Fest.

Niantic says players will be able to find Legendary Pokémon in the game by looking for unique Legendary Eggs at Gyms. Defeating a Legendary Raid Boss during a Raid Battle at one of these gyms will then give players the chance to catch a Legendary Pokémon which Niantic says can’t be left to defend Gyms, only battles.

Pokémon GO Fest this weekend in Chicago marks Niantic’s first official event around the game since it launched last summer. The ticketed event was first announced last month and has since sold out. Attendees are expected to unlock special in-game perks like an exclusive medal and higher Pokémon appearances, but Legendary Pokémon appearing a day early is the major benefit.

Following Pokémon GO Fest this weekend, Niantic is planning more events for the game around the world:

Trainers in Europe can also look forward to Pokémon GO Safari Zone events hosted across Europe from August through September in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers. A unique Pokémon GO experience will also appear at Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama, Japan in August.

Pokémon GO is available for free on the App Store.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.