Earlier this month, I attended the newest in-person Pokémon GO event in Pasadena, California to celebrate the Sinnoh region of the Pokémon World! While at Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles, I sat down with Tiane Bella, the Senior Marketing Manager for Niantic, Inc. During our interview, we talked about what all goes into making an event like Pokémon GO Tour happen, what her favorite Pokémon is, and more!

You can read about my thoughts on Pokemon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles here.

You can also find out the latest happenings in Pokémon GO at the official website, on X, on Instagram and Facebook, and on YouTube

Finally, you can follow Niantic Inc. on their official website, on YouTube, on Facebook and Instagram, on X, and on TikTok.

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

Operation Rainfall: My name is Quentin H. with oprainfall, and could you introduce yourself please?

Tiane Bella: My name is Tiane Bella, I am the Senior Marketing Manager for live events here at Niantic.

OR: We are here at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California. What about this location made it perfect for Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles?

TB: We were so excited to be able to host an event in California for the first time. Pasadena is such a gorgeous city- it has been really great working with the Rose Bowl and the city of Pasadena, to build up this beautiful space with a bunch of exciting gameplay and photo ops. It’s just been wonderful.

OR: It’s a little surprising! After all, Niantic is based in San Francisco, I think.

TB: Yes, yes.

OR: It must be nice being in your own backyard, so to speak.

TB: It is so nice. I’ve loved not having jetlag for an event. *laughs*

OR: When did you start planning for this event, and what was the process like?

TB: As many people who have planned events or weddings or things in the past- it is a pretty long lead time. It takes over 12 months to plan our events. Honestly, 12 months is a little on the short side. So there’s a lot of teams at Niantic that are working very, very hard on this for over a year.

Pokémon GO Tour | Event Map.
A photograph of the Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles event layout at the Rose Bowl. (Photo by author).

OR: There are two more tour events after this one- do you manage those as well? Or do you just focus primarily on this one in Los Angeles?

TB: My team is primarily focused on executing the wonderful physical event here at LA. And then, a related team is helming the Global event next week.

OR: We’ll talk about the Global Event in just a moment. The biggest surprise for me about Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles is that it didn’t focus on Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and the Treasures of Area Zero DLC that just wrapped up. We’re looking at the Sinnoh region from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon Legends: Arceus in the Hitsui region. Why Sinnoh?

TB: Our GO Tour events, since launch, have been focused on picking a generation of the Pokémon games and finding a really fun way to bring it to life in the real world. I think throughout the years, the team has made some really, really cool visions to bring that gameplay to life for that specific generation. This year, we’re celebrating Sinnoh and it’s just been delightful to see all that come together.

OR: Let’s talk fish! Specifically: the White-Striped Basculin that first debuted in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Why did you feel like Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles was the perfect spot to make this Pokémon’s debut?

TB: Live events are where the excitement of Pokémon GO comes to a peak. We always want to make those very, very special for those trainers who travel and come in to celebrate together. Exploring Los Angeles is a great piece of the event this year. And adding in some really exciting content for trainers who are taking Routes and discovering new areas throughout Los Angeles county- it felt like a really great way to make sure that trainers have a great time.

Pokémon GO Tour | White-Striped Basculin
The White-Striped Basculin that made its debut at Pokemon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles. (Photo by author).

OR: Speaking about the Los Angeles section- Spiritomb makes a return from Special Research Events from 2018 and 2019 where you [obtain] it from PokéStops. What made you essentially spin 10 PokéStops to encounter him. What was that creation process like?

TB: Our teams want to make sure each Pokémon is special and cool, and we wanted to make sure that they are highlighted in interesting ways. The team leaned into the exploration-aspect. Trainers are able to encounter Spiritomb at PokéStops in this space, but there are also options throughout the city to continue their journey out there.

Pokémon GO Tour | Spiritomb PokéStop
A Spiritomb PokéStop from the event! (Photo by author).

OR: There are two Legendary Pokémon whose Origin Forme forms -taken from Pokemon Legends: Arceus- that make their debut also at Pokémon Go Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles: Origin Forme Dialgia and Origin Forme Palkia. The reason I am bringing them up is to talk about Special Rend and Roar of Time, because those Charged Attacks affect the outside gameplay.

Can you talk a little about those, and how it was developing something that actually affects not just PVP or PVE, but other aspects of Pokémon GO itself?

TB: I think the product team would be better able to give you an in depth , but with my scope: I am very, very excited about the Adventure Effects that were introduced. They really enable you to play Pokémon GO in ways that we haven’t been able to before. I think it’s just a very, very interesting mechanic.

“The key thing that delights me about this event is that trainers travel in from everywhere, and you just see so many communities connecting and so many families out playing together.”

OR: There are [several] different areas out there [at Pokémon Go Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles]. I pushed my way through all of them before this interview to ask about them. How did you choose what Pokémon to set and name them?

TB: Our game design team are all absolutely brilliant and wonderful people. They looked across the generation, across the Pokémon that we’re going to be bringing to life in the real world here and made decisions to sort them and figure out what habitat they would appear in if they were to appear in the real world.

OR: I’ve previously attended Pokémon GO Fest in Seattle and in New York City. Something that is fairly unique to Pokémon Go Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles is that at the half-hour mark, the Pokémon seem to ‘flip’ and change due to the [Space-Time Anomaly]. Can you talk a bit about that?

TB: As I mentioned a little bit before, this event focuses on Sinnoh. But we have that little bit of Hitsui flair as well. I’m very excited about how this team put together the gameplay to lean into that- Time/Space Distortion that manifests in the gameplay itself.

While trainers are adventuring around the park, time is distorting around them and they are going to Hitsui and back to Sinnoh, and they are encountering the Pokémon [from] both areas.

OR: This is a long event. I don’t mean timewise, I mean length-wise. It’s a very lengthy event. With that comes crowds, how did you lay out Routes for the event?

TB: We are actually not featuring Routes in the park area itself. Instead, we focused on building Routes throughout the city to help guide trainers are they spend the rest of their time in the Los Angeles area.

OR: There are different structures throughout the [event]- let me show you a picture of one.

TB: Oooh yes, Entangled Ruins!

Pokémon GO Tour | Entangled Ruins structure
The Entangle Ruins structure present at Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles. (Photos by author).

Pokémon GO Tour | Entangled Ruins structure

OR: Can you talk a bit about that?

TB: For our habitat areas, we built photo ops for trainers to enjoy as they are catching Pokémon, to bring those habitats to life. For Entangled Ruins, we had this wonderful archway. It is split in half by this Space-Time Anomaly. So half of this archway is just normal, normal architecture- but half of it is ruins [from] back in time. So that build is meant to bring that habitat to life.

OR: Do you have a favorite Pokémon?

TB: I do! It is a very, very close tie. But Ditto is my number one. Snorlax is number two. Ditto is the best!

OR: I love Ditto too! I loved the miniature Special Research [April Fools’ 2-Oh?-22] from awhile ago.

TB: Yes! Any time Ditto can be involved, I am very excited.

OR: So what’s next Pokémon GO?

TB: Up next, we’re really excited to bring a full week of excitement together for trainers. Starting after this real world event in Los Angeles ends, the Road to Sinnoh begins. Trainers will start getting ready. Next weekend, Global Go Tour will be starting for trainers worldwide! The global event is for two days- Saturday and Sunday- and trainers, no matter where they are, can participate for free.

OR: Will they be able to get their own White-Striped Basculin?

TB: Yes!

OR: Is there anything else you can tell us about the event as we wrap up?

TB: The key thing that delights me about this event is that trainers travel in from everywhere, and you just see so many communities connecting and so many families out playing together. This is my favorite part of Pokémon GO, and it is just really great to see.

OR: Thank you!

I want to thank Niantic, Inc., for helping set up this interview!

Did you have fun at Pokemon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles? Did you catch a White-Finned Basculin this past weekend?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.