The phenomena started on February 7th with this particular image, featuring an AR photo of Spoink and motifs to go along the current Lunar New Year 2019 event:
At the time we didn’t give the brushing on this image any thought, as it looked like a trendy splatter effect, intentionally put there to contrast the red background. However, today another brushed image appeared:
This image is used as a banner on Pokemon GO’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts and it raised our suspicion that there is more to these green splatters than meets the eye.
Although it’s not clear if these images are teasers or work of an angry employee (someone would have taken it down if that was the case), it’s rather clear to see in which direction they can go:
- it’s either teasing a Splatoon crossover with Pokemon or
- it’s teasing Smeargle (mini-event?)
A Splatoon crossover sounds super strange, but the color and the general look and feel of the splatter brush go hand in hand with Splatoon’s graphics. Splatoon is owned by Nintendo, it’s already on the Switch and it could be something worth thinking about. However, we really don’t see a natural fit how Splatoon could crossover with the Pokemon franchise.
If it’s not Splatoon, are they teasing Smeargle then? Well, all of the “speculative evidence” points in that direction:
- Smeargle is long overdue in Pokemon GO
- Smeargle is associated with art, but also with graffiti style takeovers
- Smeargle’s tail tip (brush) is usually depicted green, which is the color used on the vandalized social media images
- The only blocker for a Smeargle release is his signature move Sketch, which copies the last moves used by the target Pokemon. If Niantic figured out how to implement Sketch, then there’s no blocker for release
There’s also the infamous Smeargle leak (IGN’s PvP video leaks four unreleased Pokemon: Garchomp, Regigigas, Heatran, and Smeargle) that we reported on a few months ago that clearly shows Smeargle fighting in PvP:
Pay attention trainers! There could be more teasers or hints hidden in Niantic’s upcoming social media posts. If you spot another reference to this “green brush takeover”, let us know via Twitter, Facebook or Discord.