A Pokémon game will finally let Professor Oak go into battle for the first time

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Once upon a time, before he was a star researcher in the world of Pokémon, Professor Oak was a trainer. We never get to see this side of him, though — often, he just gives you a starter monster and then goes on to act as your adviser. Well, until now.

A Pokémon Masters update hitting Friday will introduce Professor Oak as a sync pair, and the Pokémon expert will come equipped with a legendary Mew that he will use in battle with the player. Anyone who completes the tutorial by March 15 will get the character. Masters will include a sync pair story that will explain how the Professor met Mew, and additional content will also include some of his friends, such as Agatha.

Image: The Pokémon Company

Die-hards might remember that, prior to this, we came pretty close to experiencing Professor as a full-on trainer. The original Pokémon Red and Blue contain unused files that would have put Oak as one of the most powerful enemies the player could face near the end of the game. Had the battle been included, Professor Oak would have had a level 66 Tauros, a level 67 Exeggutor, a level 68 Arcanine, and a level 70 Gyarados, along with the final evolution of a starter that is determined by what the player chooses at the beginning of the game. Fans will note that this team is slightly tougher than your rival’s final team, which is wild. The concept went on to be used in Pokémon X and Y, where the player can actually face off against Professor Sycamore.

In this case, however, Professor Oak will fight alongside you, not against you. Still, though — he got quite an upgrade to his team since Red and Blue, huh? Actually, it’s been a pretty big week for Professor Oak overall, given his recent makeover in Pokémon Home.

Players who log in to Pokémon Masters every day until Feb. 27 will be able to receive up to 3,000 Gems for free, and the game will also include new music and decorations.