The mobile AR update of the game, the Pokémon Go precursor that mixes the real world and smartphone screen animations, is built on the foundation of the science fiction game Ingress, which debuted in 2012 and has more than 20 million downloads. Ingress put Niantic, which spun out of Google, on the map. It drew hundreds of thousands of players to more than 2,000 live real world events. The new game will debut in 2018.
Ingress Prime has been redesigned with a new look, new AR features, and other improvements. It has a new user interface and sound design, and it leverages new smartphone camera features. The game has the same basic story, where players become agents in the real world for two factions, the Enlightened or the Resistance.
“When Ingress first launched five years ago, we helped create a new genre of games that foster exploration, discovery, friendship, and exercise,” said John Hanke, founder and chief executive officer of Niantic, in a statement. “Ingress is the foundation of our real-world gaming platform and showcases our ability to create in-game and live experiences that can be a force for positive change in communities worldwide. With Ingress Prime, we’re ushering in a new chapter of the game for our passionate fans who have been with us since the beginning as well as the next evolution of the experience for those new to Ingress.”
The launch of Ingress Prime in 2018 will kick off a big new story arc, beginning a new narrative for agents worldwide. While the global game board will reset as part of the new storyline, current agents will retain all of their current in-game progression, level, and items in Ingress Prime.
Ingress was a pioneer in location-based games, where local landmarks and monuments were set up as points of control for the factions to fight over. The game injects an “interactive experience filled with mystery, intrigue, and adventure” into your local neighborhoods. The game was intended to get gamers off the couch and exercising in the real world. It was also meant to make people more social in playing games.
The new game will be available on iOS and Android in 2018. Ingress was important for Niantic in that it allowed it to test its augmented reality and location platform, and then it followed it up in 2015 with the enormously successful Pokémon Go, which as of June had generated an estimated $1.2 billion and 752 million downloads as of June 2017.
Niantic also recently announced it has raised a $200 million venture capital funding round as it prepares a new Harry Potter AR game for 2018.