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Niantic and Hasbro have partnered to make the real-world augmented reality mobile game Transformers: Heavy Metal. It’s yet another location-based game along the lines of Niantic’s Ingress, Pokémon Go, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite mobile games.
Very Very Spaceship is leading game development, and Tomy is Niantic’s publishing partner in Japan. The game brings Optimus Prime and Bumblebee to life in the real world through the Niantic Lightship platform, which overlays animated characters in the real world.
In the title, players will join the Guardian Network, a group of humans who have banded together with the Autobots in a war against the Decepticons. As a Guardian, players will uncover hidden regions across Earth to find resources and battle Decepticons in turn-based battles, either solo or with friends. The game will use designs from G1.
With a planned global launch later this year, Transformers: Heavy Metal will enter a soft launch in select markets soon. Tomy will work with Niantic on the release in Japan, and Seattle-based Very Very Spaceship making the game. It is using Lightship, which is Niantic’s planet-scale AR platform that enables AR, real-time 3D mapping, and multiplayer social experiences. With Niantic Lightship ARDK, developers can build their own AR worlds and experiences using tools that leverage location, environmental context, and shared multiplayer views.
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I asked Niantic why it chose to go with Transformers for its next game. In an email reply, executive producer Phil Hong said, “Transformers is a global, beloved entertainment franchise that’s fun, a bit irreverent, and has a message that lines up with Niantic’s values, that of ‘Save the Earth, Save Humanity.’ We saw an opportunity to bring the best of what we do with geolocation gaming and AR to a game that’s different than what we’ve done before. Transformers: Heavy Metal adds diversity to our slate, as it’s a high-action mobile game, but it will also be familiar to players given that exploring the world and battling back the Decepticon invasion is one of the key pillars of the game.”
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