Everything we know about Rocket Balloons in Pokémon Go

They’re blasting off again.

Image via Niantic

The term Rocket Balloon has been circulating Pokémon Go for a few weeks right now. The concept of introducing these balloons into the popular mobile game first arrived when players pointed out the brief appearance of a Rocket Balloon close the back of the Pokémon Go Fest 2020 promotional image. You can see it pictured below, in the far back on the left side, behind several trees.

This information, and even the adding of Rocket Balloons at all, has not been confirmed by developer Niantic in any way at this time. Still, dataminers over at Pokeminers have been hard at work uncovering a great deal of information on how they may work if and when they come to Pokémon Go. Here’s what we know so far—speculatively, at least.

Image via Niantic

When will Rocket Balloons release?

At this time, we don’t have a clear idea about when the balloons could release. However, because the Rocket Balloon had been seen in the back of a Pokémon Go Fest 2020 picture, we can assume it aligns with these events. A Rocket Balloon could release alongside the Pokémon Go Fest 2020 weekend, which happens from July 25 to 26 virtually, rather than at a physical location. Alternatively, it could come out during the lead-up to the event, giving players a way to complete various challenges that will help them unlock more Pokémon to capture during the virtual event.

How do Rocket Balloons work?

Based on what the Pokeminers were able to uncover, it looks like there will be two versions of the Rocket Balloon. One will have the standard Rocket Grunt in them, and the other contains one of the several Rocket Bosses. While these balloons will be floating above you, if you are in range to interact with them, you should be able to fight a Rocket grunt or boss as if they were fighting you from a traditional PokéStop. Hopefully, Team Rocket has a different roster than what it was using earlier this year in March.

The Rocket Balloons themselves may have a starting point where they begin at a PokéStop, float in the air, and then land at another nearby stop. The exact distance between the two Pokéstops remains unknown at this time. It would likely have to cover vast distances to ensure plenty of trainers have access to it while traveling the map.

Does this bring back Rocket research and Giovanni events?

That’s unknown but extremely doubtful. Niantic has explicitly said it does not plan to do any additional research tasks or Giovanni events until the end of September 2020. While the addition of a Team Rocket balloon is excellent, and a step forward to helping those stuck in their homes due to the pandemic, it’s unlikely it will bring about the revival of the Team Rocket monthly events. Of course, we could hear different details directly from Niantic.

Will Rocket Balloons be a permanent feature?

Potentially. It all depends on how and when Niantic plans to introduce the Rocket Balloon feature if it comes to the game. If Rocket Balloons become a thing during the weeks leading up to the Pokémon Go 2020 Fest event, they could continue to stick around. However, it’s far more likely Rocket Balloons will be introduced on the second day of the virtual event. It could center around the new mythical Pokémon Niantic is planning to release on that day.

What does Professor Willow know?

The Pokémon Go blog has posted a full breakdown of all the information Professor Willow has learned about the Rocket Balloons. He has various scraps of paper that have drawings of team rocket members working on their balloons. Their intention is to use these balloons to ferry Team Rockets members around the map to capture Pokémon. There’s also a scrap of paper showing a team rocket member jumping down from a balloon using a rope to battle a trainer, which might be how trainers can expect to fight grunts and bosses alike.

Cyberpunk 2077
Image via Niantic

For now, all of this information is speculative, so take it with a grain of salt. We’ll update this article as we learn additional information about how Rocket Balloons fit into Pokémon Go.