Niantic appears to be teasing a specific Pokemon that's been conspicuously missing from Pokemon GO for some time. Despite adding virtually all Generation 2 Pokemon to the game awhile ago and moving on as far as Generation 4 since then, Smeargle was left behind. The painting Pokemon's time may be arriving, however, if a sudden series of teaser images from Niantic on Twitter and Facebook are anything to go by.
Pokemon fans will recognize Smeargle as the adorable dog-like Pokemon that uses its long tail as a paintbrush. More familiar Pokemon fans will recall that Smeargle doesn't learn abilities so much as copy them with its unique Sketch ability. It's this uniqueness that likely led to Pokemon GO passing Smeargle over when Generation 2 Pokemon were initially added. Combat in the mobile game is very straight forward and doesn't allow for much creativity.
But Niantic is now hinting that it may have figured out how to bring Smeargle into Pokemon GO. Both Pokemon GO's Twitter and Facebook accounts now feature teaser images splashed by paint. It's either a teaser for the missing painting Pokemon Smeargle or, far less likely, a crossover with Splatoon's Inklings.
Fears that Niantic isn't actually teasing Smeargle's addition to Pokemon GO aren't so strong as a second and even more frustrating possibility. Shedinja is another Pokemon that Niantic kept back due to its unique combination of abilities in traditional Pokemon games. When Niantic eventually did introduce Shedinja to the game as a Weekly Research Pokemon, it just didn't give it the ability it needed to survive, Wonder Guard. As a result, Shedinja is effectively useless. All hope that Shedinja would be as strong (or at least as interesting) in Pokemon GO as it was in the normal Pokemon games was dashed.
Smeargle could end up as just another Shedinja, more of a Pokedex filler than useful overall. Or Niantic may have put together something special with Smeargle, implementing its Sketch ability in a clever way without breaking the game. Alternatively, it must be repeated, the teasers may not be for Smeargle at all. There's a lot left to discover about what Pokemon GO is working on, but fans can expect more information soon.
Pokemon GO is available now on iOS and Android devices.