Last year, hackers discovered a handful of Pokémon hidden inside the code of Pokémon X & Y. The Pokémon were called Diancie, Volcanion and Hoopa. They looked cool, but, unfortunately, the series' developers at Game Freak didn't officially release any of them at the time. All the average player could do was look at screenshots of these mysterious new Pokémon in wonder. Now, over a year later, things have changed a bit.
Diancie, one of the Pokémon found inside the code of X & Y, not only turned out to be real, but ended up having an entire movie dedicated to it. Heck, some players now even have Diancie in their games, thanks to recent Pokémon events held by retailers like Gamestop.
That's one Pokémon down. What of the other two? Volcanion still hasn't been released -- though you can still read about its Pokedex entry and the moves it can learn. Hoopa, on the other hand, is a Pokémon whose mystery has only grown with the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Here's what we know.
Hoopa looks like this:
While Hoopa hasn't been officially released by Game Freak, players using software such as Powersave have managed to get the creature into X & Y anyway. That's how we know things like: Hoopa is a psychic and ghost type, and it has an ability called "magician."
Back when the demo for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire was released, a hacking team called "Project Pokemon" discovered more curious hidden data about Hoopa. Inside the demo was a sprite that nobody had seen before, which looked a hell of a lot like Hoopa, too -- only way more menacing.
At the time, the assumption was that Hoopa had to have a mega evolution -- and maybe this new sprite was that mega evolution. Now we know that it's actually a different form that Hoopa can take. We know this because, after Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire were released, players who had inserted the Hoopa into their games via Powersave found that Hoopa triggered a strange new event inside Pokémon marts, those locations where players can buy items. As this footage by Sleepy Jirachi shows, it's a bizarre scene:
Basically, if the player goes into a Pokémon mart while carrying a Hoopa, a new Pokémon mart employee will show up in the corner of the building. If you talk to him, he'll tell you a "scary story" about an old guy who duped the Pokémon mart employee into trading mart goods for an item that seemed useless. Thinking that the item is just a valueless empty old bottle, he gives it to the player. The item is ominously called "Prison Bottle," and the man who gave it to the Pokémon mart employee kept talking about how its supposed to make Hoopa "unbound" for three days. To the Pokémon mart employee, the bit about Hoopa probably seemed like nonsense, just a rant. The guy probably doesn't even know that a Pokémon called Hoopa exists.
But players who have been following the Hoopa story know that it's supposed to have some sort of different form thanks to hackers who looked at the code of the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire demos. And sure enough, if you use the bottle on Hoopa, it transforms into this thing, which is Hoopa Unbound.
Looks kind of scary, no? Especially when compared to its original form. Furthering this feeling is the game's description of the ominously-named Prison Bottle. To quote, "A bottle believed to have been used to seal away the power of a certain Pokémon long, long ago."
Why would you need to seal away the power of this Pokémon? It's the sort of thing that makes a Pokémon sound dangerous. While we don't have a concrete answer here, players do have theories. A lot of it has to do with one of the moves that Hoopa has, which is called Hyperspace Fury. It looks like this:
Keen players will note that the rings that Hoopa uses during that move look a hell of a lot like the rings that you have to walk through in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in order to find legendaries:
This, in conjunction with the lore surrounding Hoopa, has made some players sure that dozens of legendaries found in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are Hoopa's doing. We wrote a little about this yesterday. To summarize, hackers found that an NPC in Pokémon X & Y would say the following about Hoopa, should you have it in your party -- emphasis mine:
"No way! Could that be the Mythical Pokémon Hoopa that you have there with you?" Options: Yes | No
No: "Oh, I was mistaken? Sorry about that…"
Yes: "Whoaaa! I can't believe it's true! See, I travel around the world, trying to solve its many mysteries. I've been researching supernatural events that have occurred over the last 100 years. One thing I've found is that the Mythical Pokémon Hoopa is connected to many of these strange events! I've also managed to come across some information about the mysterious power that Hoopa appears to wield. So, without further ado, I'd like to share my findings with you! After all, you're actually travelling with Hoopa -- the very subject of my research!" Options: Its mysterious rings | The secret of its lair | Its deeds and exploits | Nothing
Its mysterious rings: "It's said that Hoopa can use the power of the three rings it adorns itself with to move objects about as it pleases… That's not all! I've also heard that when Hoopa unleashes its full power, the size of the rings can grow up to multiple miles in length! With such massive rings, apparently it can transport even entire islands!"
The secret of its lair: "It's said that Hoopa's lair is overflowing with the objects and treasures it nabbed over the years, claiming them for its own. Rumour has it that there are mountains of gold and silver treasures that it took from ancient kings and wealthy land barons. I hear that Hoopa's lair is in an oasis in the desert, but no one's been able to find the place!"
Its deeds and exploits: "There's a tale about an organisation that tried to manipulate Hoopa's power for their own benefit. After a while, certain objects that belonged to the organisation mysteriously began to disappear. Everything from weapons and vehicles to money… It all began to vanish one by one. The organisation got scared and decided to hole up inside of their headquarters. Once they did, things stopped disappearing! Just like that! Relieved that it was finally over, the organisation finally decided to step outside. It was then that they discovered their headquarters had been transported wholesale to somewhere in the middle of a desert! Terrified of what they had unleashed, the organisation promptly disbanded."
"Whether Hoopa becomes a trustworthy partner or ends up bringing about great misfortune depends entirely on the Trainer. I hope you don't forget that. I think Hoopa'll turn out right as rain with you at its side, though! You look like a Trainer who knows how to take care of his Pokémon and treat 'em right. Well, I hope you end up having lots of fine adventures with Hoopa! Have fun!"
And this is what I theorized, based on that text:
"We must consider that many of the legendary Pokémon you find around Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire appear in mysterious locations, such as strange islands. Furthermore, you always have to go through an actual hoop to get to the legendary Pokémon.
"Hoopa is supposed to be a mythical Pokémon with rings, which can transport things as big as entire islands. How many rings does Hoopa have, according to the leaked text from months ago? Three. How many mysterious locations appear on your map every day, each with portals to legendary Pokémon? Three. Lore-wise, the fact that three legendaries from entirely different games appear every day inside of portals located in mysterious islands in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire could be explained by the existence of another legendary, such as Hoopa."
Obviously, a lot of that is speculation -- and will remain speculation until Game Freak releases Hoopa, should they ever do that. But what makes this so interesting isn't just that players are leaking what appear to be legendary Pokémon sometimes up to a year in advance, or that it's a Pokémon that only hackers (and the people who trade with them) can get. It's that this Pokémon in particular seems so damn cool. The evil genie-like design is great, and I like small touches that the Pokémon has, like the fact that it doesn't completely fit on your screen, should you bring it up on Pokémon Amie (the feature that lets you pet your Pokémon). And that evil smile! It's great. I don't think I'm the only one that feels this way, judging from all the Hoopa fan-art floating around sites like Tumblr.
And if the thing about its portal rings turns out to be true, one can only guess what sort of crazy story Game Freak is going to come up with that uses that stuff, once they officially put Hoopa in the game. After the Delta Episode, which toys with the idea of multiple Pokémon timelines and different dimensions, it looks like the Pokémon games could be taking a wild turn. I'm guessing that Hoopa's abilities, which allow it to transport entire islands across space and time, will feed into a storyline about multiple dimensions. And I'm guessing that, based on what we know about Hoopa Unbound, things might get a little dark. But who knows! Even if Hoopa ends up making it into the Pokémon games someday, everything we know about it might change between now and release.
For now, all we know that Hoopa is hiding in the code of both Pokémon X & Y and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. We can't have it yet, and the only means of getting Hoopa are 'illicit' -- both of which only make me want it more.