Pokemon Go developer Niantic is cracking down on cheaters who obtained legendary Pokemon like Articuno ahead of schedule, completely removing the creatures from their accounts.

It’s been a pretty crazy week for players of the hit mobile app Pokemon Go. First, controversy erupted over the shutdown of third-party tracking services like Pokevision thanks to a cease and desist order from developer Niantic. But then, trainers everywhere got excited again when some players claimed to have caught the legendary Pokemon Articuno. This news was tempered, however, when word got out that it is possible to manipulate the game to create legendary Pokemon, casting doubt on those who said they had the epic blue bird or other legendary creatures.

Now, Niantic has stepped in again to take care of the situation by removing the legendaries from the accounts of Pokemon Go players who weren’t supposed to have them yet. The developer released a statement to IGN on Wednesday explaining the decision.

“We recently noticed that a few Legendary Pokemon got into a few accounts when they shouldn’t have, To preserve the game’s integrity and as a measure of fairness, we have rectified the situation and revoked the legendary Pokemon from the Trainers’ accounts.”

The first player to claim to have caught Articuno lived in Ohio and started a controversy on the Pokemon Go Reddit when the news broke. Many players were skeptical from the start, assuming some kind of hack or Photoshop job must have been involved.


IGN notes that the player, Kait Covey, claimed Niantic gave her the Pokemon as an apology after the developer was contacted about an issue with the game. At one point, the legendary was even shown off during a Twitch live stream to prove that it was real. Still, many players remained skeptical about the story. Those concerns were validated later on but it’s still unclear if Covey’s original Articuno was the source of a hack or an overeager customer service representative.

What is clear is that Niantic does seem to be putting forth more effort in the past few days to respond to what is going on in the game and within the game’s community. The developer recently put out a statement explaining its shutdown of third party tools after much of the player base started turning against the developer. One of the knocks against Niantic is that the company has mostly kept players in the dark about the reasons behind the various changes that have been made, but it now like the developer may be getting better at communication.

Whether or not Pokemon Go can remain successful in the months and years to come likely depends on Niantic’s ability to manage the expectations of the game’s community as well as continuing to squash those pesky bugs that keep popping up. Creating a smarter in-game tracking tool would also be a good place to start.

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Pokemon GO is currently available in select regions on Android and iOS devices.

Source: IGN