'Pokemon GO' co targeting board game, immersive theatre for AR

Yolanda Curtis
July 3, 2020

No word exactly what kind of real-world games the collaboration is expected to yield (an immersive Jurassic Park anyone?).

Niantic, maker of the two hit games (and their predecessor Ingress), has announced that its next title is a similar massively-multiplayer augmented reality take on the classic board game Catan.

London-based Punchdrunk was behind the Sleep No More show, which was loosely based on Shakespeare's Macbeth, and placed the audience among the actors in an immersive set.

Both Punchdrunk and Niantic are for now staying relatively tightlipped about the scope of their crossover, though they are developing "multiple projects" together.

Using the Niantic Real World Platform, "Catan World Explorers" presents itself as immediately recognizable to anyone with exposure to "Pokémon Go" or "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite". "At Punchdrunk we create richly cinematic 3D worlds where audiences can explore, touch and smell the environment; where the boundaries between reality and fantasy are indistinguishable", Felix Barrett, Punchdrunk's artistic director, said in a statement. "Those that have seen Sleep No More often liken the experience to how it might feel to walk into a video game. Tear down the walls and the world becomes your stage". Ideally, you'll be able to harvest, trade, and build, just as you would in the board game, but this time you'll do so in the real world through AR, and your friends can join. PocketGamer.biz points out that this is just one of 10 games Niantic has in development, which include prototypes for AR wearables.

All in all, I can't say it's surprising to learn that Niantic is still keen on pushing out more AR games, especially since today's announcement mentions that the studio is now working on ten new titles. "We think the potential is global and massive".

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