Kecleon, Zorua, and other delays in Pokémon Go came down to a lack of resources

Not everything can be done when wanted.

Kecleon, Zorua, and Larvesta fans have had to wait a long, long time to finally be able to get their favorite pocket monsters in Pokémon Go after Niantic’s staggered release of them over the past few months. But why didn’t fans get them sooner?

Zorua was the first, added in October 2022, which appeared in the wild disguised as your buddy Pokémon. Kecleon followed a few months later in January 2023, with players finding it by spinning Pokéstops it was hiding on. Larvesta was the last to be added, being slapped behind egg paywalls at the start of May, much to fans’ disgruntlement.

For Pokémon like Kecleon, which took years to be added into the game and became a bit of a meme in the Pokémon Go community, the addition of it so suddenly felt like very little payoff and not worth the hype that was generated. For me, it felt like something that was rushed out without much care and I couldn’t understand why Niantic waited so long to add them in such an unfulfilling fashion.

Well, it turns out my questions were answered on May 15 when Dot Esports was able to get an interview with some of the Niantic team. According to Pokémon Go director Michael Steranka and senior producer John Funtanilla, the reason these Pokémon took so long was just a lack of resources.

“In terms of what took so long, anytime it comes to the development of games or any products, you’re constantly making trade-off choices, right?” Steranka told Dot Esports. “You have a finite set of resources, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘am I going to invest those resources in creating a really cool Zorua experience? Or am I going to invest those resources in feature X, Y, or Z? Or am I going to invest those resources into cleaning up some of the bugs and issues that have been taking place in the game?'”

Steranka went on to say that for Pokémon like Zorua and Kecleon, their release was just the “earliest possible time” they could have got those features done with the resources and prioritization given from Niantic as a whole, and because the team wanted to focus on creating an amazing and unique experience for these Pokémon that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Funtanilla went one step further, noting the release of Vivillion back in December. It was one of these core unique experiences that really shows what the team can do when it’s creative, and also link to this idea of connectivity around the world.

“I think the biggest thing [for me] also that I want to add into this is Vivillion with the postcards. I think that was a really huge feature for us to get engagement and getting players to go out there and really trade across the world,” Funtanilla said. “There’s always gonna be the iron triangle of resource time. The backlog on the biggest thing is really doing things in a unique way. So to echo, Michael, again, it’s like Kecleon, you want to stay true to the lore. Vivillion is the same thing. Same thing with Zorua… It’s about being really creativeand uniquewith each Pokémon.”

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