Two of the three entities behind Pokemon GO, the reigning champion in mobile augmented reality gaming, are joining forces again to see if lightning can strike more than once.
This week, AR developer Niantic and gaming giant Nintendo announced a partnership that will see a series of mobile games built on the Niantic Real World Platform with Nintendo's stable of characters, starting with the popular Pikmin franchise.
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"As we continue to expand our games portfolio, it was a natural next step to team up with Nintendo," said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, in a statement. "We're looking forward to shaping the future of AR together, bringing Nintendo's beloved game characters to life for mobile game players around the world."
In a blog post, Niantic hinted at gameplay that would "encourage walking and make walking more delightful," which certainly follows the modus operandi that the company has established with Pokémon GO, Ingress, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The game is scheduled to arrive "later this year" and will be the first title built by Niantic's Tokyo Studio.
"Niantic's AR technology has made it possible for us to experience the world as if Pikmin are secretly living all around us," said Shigeru Miyamoto, representative director and fellow at Nintendo. "Based on the theme of making walking fun, our mission is to provide people a new experience that's different from traditional games. We hope that the Pikmin and this app will become a partner in your life."
Since its blockbuster debut in 2016, the hype around Pokémon GO has waned, but the game has still enjoyed sustained success, remaining one of the top-grossing mobile games on the App Store and Google Play.
Popular franchises like Jurassic Park, Walking Dead, Ghostbusters, Minecraft, and Hello Kitty have attempted to replicate Pokémon GO's success, but none have come close (and Minecraft's mobile AR game will close its doors later this year).
Then again, Warner Bros. wasn't able to manage a hit with Harry Potter even with Niantic's assistance. Perhaps Nintendo has the key ingredient here? If Pikmin isn't the key, Nintendo has Mario, Legend of Zelda, and other properties to throw at the wall to see what else sticks in AR.