Niantic’s best-performing AR game is based on a game IP, so it won’t surprise you that Nintendo’s tapped Niantic specifically to make more mobile AR games. As with The Pokemon Company venture, Niantic will be handling a PKMN game, this one called Pikmin, a colorful Nintendo IP about a tiny man using alien creatures to collect parts to repair his spaceship. It clearly scratches the collection itch Niantic’s been spreading between Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, but Pikmin franchise lends itself more to puzzle gaming – and it’s usually co-op.
Details on the new MMOARG are scarce right now, though Niantic’s said the first game will have “gameplay activities designed to encourage walking and make the activity more enjoyable.” That’s a good sign, as current titles are geared more toward merely going outside rather than actually promoting exercise.
The company’s Tonehenge demo from 2018 would actually fit well with the series. While doing this kind of game in public could break Niantic’s own best practices, limiting this kind of involved AR activity to sponsored sites or having puzzles work anywhere – that could avoid a lot of issues and promote multiplayer AR in the safer ways the company has adopted since COVID-19 became a development hurdle.