The first digital Pokemon Go Fest was held last weekend. Developer Niantic created a fresh commercial from a beloved director. Rian Johnson, director of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Knives Out” fame, worked with a New Zealand cast and crew remotely from Los Angeles.
Johnson worked from the concept of “peeling back a layer of our everyday lives, looking closer, and experiencing being a trainer with your favorite Pokemon” in the augmented reality game, which has apparently helped him socialize at a distance.
“Pokemon Go has kept me engaged with my friends remotely as I’ve been practicing physical distancing these past few months,” he said in a blog post. “It was a new experience for me to direct a production remotely, and I enjoyed the highly collaborative process and think we put together a fun and upbeat commercial that fans will enjoy.”
The director occasionally alludes to his fandom on social media. Last December, days before the release of The Rise of Skywalker, he tweeted a screenshot of a shadow Grimer named “Discourse” — possibly reminding us of the online toxicity in the wake of The Last Jedi. Hopefully that Grimer has since been purified.
The Pokemon Go Fest, which in past years has brought trainers together to catch Pokemon through a series of location-based challenges, has transformed into a global event due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was run on the July 25-26 weekend, and buying a $14.99 ticket opened up a bunch of challenges. Completing those will give a chance to catch a mythical Pokemon (likely Victini).
More than 700,000 tickets have been purchased by players in more than 110 countries, Niantic noted.