Pokémon Gold and Silver's Celebi shrine mystery was an accident, GameFreak admits

20 years past its Celebi date.

Pokémon Gold and Silver's mysterious Ilex Shrine location famously left Game Boy owners puzzled. Visit the forest location and it is obvious something is supposed to happen there. But nothing ever does.

On internet message boards and in playgrounds, rumours circulated there was a way of summoning up Gold and Silver's mythical Pokémon Celebi by doing a specific thing, or bringing a specific item.

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Ilex Shrine. Nothing to see here.

And it made sense - Celebi is stated to be the Guardian of Ilex Forest, and its Pokémon data was known to exist within the game's files.

But Celebi was not catchable in Gold and Silver. Fans would have to wait another year, and buy another version of the game, to be able to access the mythical green turnip. And even then, it was only officially released via events in Japan.

Now, in a new video interview with GameFreak staff translated by Siliconera, Celebi designer Hironobu Yoshida has said the team were initially confused by reports Celebi was catachable in Gold and Silver.

"The leading rumour in Japan was that you needed to bring both the Rainbow Wing and Silver Wing to the shrine, which would make Celebi appear," Siliconera reports. This was not the case, though it was used in Nintendo DS remakes Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver as a nod to the theory.

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The onion fairy itself, Celebi.

"Yoshida's theory is that, as back then they would use additional sprite parts to give texture to rooftops, staircases, rocks, and more, they might have added in the shrine with these additional sprites just to spruce up the area. Basically, it was probably just part of the background.

"So if Celebi wasn't planned for the shrine, what was it there for? According to [art director Takao] Unno, nobody remembers what the shrine is for among the original staff. That's the true mystery behind Celebi."

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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