Pokemon Go announced that it would be delaying the introduction of two variant Pokemon due to "recent developments." Niantic announced that it would not launch a planned collaboration with Pokemon Air Adventures on July 22nd, citing unnamed "recent developments" that are likely related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The planned collaboration would have introduced a new costumed Pikachu that would only appear in Okinawa, as well as the shiny variant of Corsola, another region-exclusive Pokemon that appears in Okinawa and other areas. The collaboration would have been the first event to introduce a region-exclusive costumed Pokemon and was also a rare example of a costumed Pokemon getting added due to a collaboration with another company. Niantic did not state when the collaboration would actually launch, but promised to share more information once details were finalized.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Japan, leading to the Japanese government declaring a state of emergency and announcing severe restrictions on upcoming events such as the Tokyo Olympics. To minimize the chances of a new outbreak, Tokyo officials banned local spectators from attending Olympic events. Additionally, Japan has also placed restrictions on alcohol sales. A state of emergency in Okinawa was recently extended to August 22nd.
Pokemon Go has faced some pushback from fans as it eases restrictions and precautions set up during the recent pandemic. Players negatively reacted to Pokemon Go's plans to rollback several bonuses added to help maintain social distancing during play, although Niantic did not issue a respond to the criticism. Plans to host live photo op events in several cities around the world during this weekend's Pokemon Go Fest event were also met with some skepticism, although Pokemon Go stressed that there were no bonuses or mechanical advantages to attending and were distributing tickets to help limit ticket sizes.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Pokemon Go Fest will be a global event that will require a $5 ticket to play. The two-day event will feature a chance to obtain the Mythical Pokemon Meloetta, along with several new Shiny Pokemon and access to region-exclusive Pokemon that aren't typically available in most regions. The event takes place July 17th and July 18th.