Two days ago Ed Sheeran posted a cryptic Twitter message, alluding to a soon-to-be announced collaboration with Pokémon GO. I’ll be honest: I’m not Ed Sheeran’s biggest fan, but the hashtag #PokemonGOxEdSheeran made me laugh. So, like any self-respecting journalist, I emailed my contact at Niantic to see if he would reverse the fuse (under embargo, of course).
He replied, “I’m afraid I can’t share anything about the Tweet right now, but I’ll be sure to include you once we can!” “
Sure enough, today Pokémon GO announced its collaboration with Ed Sheeran. Apparently there will be an in-app performance from Ed Sheeran, which we’ll learn more about on November 22, when the event kicks off. For now, we know that his song “Overpass Graffiti” will be played every night during the event, and there will be Ed Sheeran clothes for your avatar. The Pokémon GO celebration of… Ed Sheeran… runs through November 30, and during the event, players will experience an increase in wild water starter spawns from the first five generations of Pokémon: Squirtle (with goggles). sun!), Totodile, Mudkip, Oshawott and Froakie.
“Ed always chooses the Water-type Pokémon as his first partner when starting a Pokémon RPG, ”the app wrote in a blog post.
On Twitter, Pokémon GO explained that not only does Ed Sheeran always choose the water starter, but his favorite Pokémon is, indeed, Squirtle.
Okay, I interned at a PR firm for three months, so let me tell you. Ed Sheeran might want you to think he’s like us, feeling fond nostalgia for the simpler times when Game Boy Color was high tech, but this dude has a whole team of ad pros behind him, weighing in on the pros and cons of each of his movements. He’s a guy whose song “Shape of You” is the most listened to song of all time. He has resources. So, is Squirtle really Ed Sheeran’s favorite Pokémon, or is it just a nice fact to advertise? Squirtle is popular enough that average people would recognize it, but not as boring as Pikachu. It makes sense. If you’re a PR professional and your client reveals their favorite Pokemon, you don’t want them saying Cubone or something like that. Everyone knows Cubone is the most depressing Pokémon. But if they say Bouffalant, it’s like, why? We do not care?
Any serious Pokémon player knows that water types are overkill, especially in the Kanto region. The first Gym Leader you face, Brock, specializes in Rock-type Pokémon. Bulbasaur and Squirtle both have super efficient rock moves, but Charmander, a fire type, is weak against Brock’s mighty level 14 Onix. Do you want to know what’s even worse? Try to fight Brock in your very first game of Pokémon Yellow, using Pikachu’s thunder against a rock snake. It sucks.
Like any good reporter waiting for an email on another story, I decided to investigate. Ed Sheeran’s Favorite Pokémon really Squirtle? Or is it just a public relations ploy?
If you were to search for “ed sheeran pokemon” right now, you would find point-of-sale news articles with more robust staff than TechCrunch, which posted brief news about this unlikely and healthy collaboration this morning. But I wanted to go further. Beyond this announcement, what do we know about Ed’s Pokémon fandom? Suddenly, I refined my search.
I found out that two years ago the British superstar visited a Japanese karaoke bar after the Rugby World Cup final. England lost to South Africa. Brutal. He was pictured wearing both Snorlax and Charizard suits as he sang karaoke to his own songs, which is both a backlash and a power move.
By now, it seemed that Sheeran had only acknowledged the existence of Pokémon from the Kanto region, or the Basic Pokémon. Last May, Ed Sheeran posted a photo on Instagram next to a large Snorlax plush, looking fondly at her like an old friend. He wears socks.
The following month, in June, Ed spoke to Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos. According to a Nintendo Hill report, Sheeran shared three ideas about his Nintendo fandom: his prized possession is a Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 007 cartridge, he met the creator of Pokémon (who also wrote him a letter!), And – wait – his favorite. Pokémon is Squirtle.
So, unless Sheeran’s probably very knowledgeable PR team has been planning this for at least five months (not impossible, tbh!), We can probably say that Ed Sheeran’s favorite Pokémon is really Squirtle. But also, isn’t it fun to imagine if his favorite Pokémon was something super mundane and Pokémon GO had to develop quite an event around it? Like Burmy, Nosepass or Zigzagoon.
Sheeran also confirmed in this interview that the first generation of Pokémon is his favorite. What, I mean, yeah, Ed, you can tell. However, it looks like he’s at least engaged with the Pokémon content released during the 21st century. In 2013, he posted a photo of a cat with a Pokémon card. And what Pokémon card was it? Turtwig, a fourth-generation starter Pokémon. A type of grass.
Speaking of Turtwig, Nintendo Switch Gen 4 remakes Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are out tomorrow, so rejoice!