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Pokémon Go launches Team GO Rocket hot air balloons

Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket Balloon
Pokemon Go Team Go Rocket Balloon (Image credit: Niantic)

What you need to know

  • After a week of teasing, Team GO Rocket has returned to Pokémon Go.
  • Team GO Rocket hot air balloons are now spawning on the map for level 40 Trainers.
  • As with many other features, Team GO Rocket balloons will roll out by level.

After a week's worth of teasing, Niantic has officially announced the launch of Team GO Rocket hot air balloons. Much like Pokémon can spawn on the map, now the infamous Team GO Rocket can appear in the skies. These hot air balloons will bring a Team GO Rocket Grunt or Executive directly to you, where you can challenge them to battle, just as you would when they've taken over PokéStops.

For many players across the globe, Team GO Rocket battles have been all but inaccessible due to social distancing in light of the global pandemic. This led to Niantic putting updates to the monthly Team GO Rocket Special Research on hold at least until September. While it is possible that these battles are temporary for the Anniversary event, it seems likely that this new way to challenge Team GO Rocket could be Niantic's way of making these battles accessible for players in regions still impacted by COVID-19. Currently, these hot air balloons will only appear for level 40 Trainers, but like many other features in Niantic games, they will gradually go live for other players based on level.

Have you challenged Team GO Rocket in the skies yet? Are you excited to get working on Team GO Rocket Special Research again? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, as well as our many Pokémon Go guides, so you can be the very best like no one ever was!

Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.