Pokemon Go Will Be Similar To Ingress In All The Best Ways


Pokemon Go will be the best of both the Pokemon universe, and Niantic’s mobile game: Ingress.

A few days ago, VentureBeat published an interview with Niantic’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Quigley, and its CEO, John Hanke. The interview is long and detailed, and covers the upcoming mobile Pokemon title, Pokemon Go, which is being created through a partnership with Niantic and The Pokemon Company. The interview has a lot of exciting tidbits to tide us over until we can really try out Pokemon Go. Primarily we learn that Niantic, known for its location-based mobile game “Ingress”, is bringing its skillset to Pokemon Go to make it exactly what it should be.

First off, we learn that staying true to the spirit of Pokemon is a key goal for the developers. The adventure of a kid going out into the world and finding Pokemon is at the heart of the project, and all the big names in Pokemon are part of the conversation on how to do it–Junichi Masuda, Shigeru Miyamoto, Tsunekazu Ishihara…even Satoru Iwata had his “hand on the wheel” so to speak, before he passed away.

From the interview:

"Hanke: He [Masuda] advises us on game design for Pokémon and helps make sure that we keep true to the franchise, the history of all the handheld games they’ve done. They’re so excited about this as a new version of the game that’s never been done before. It’s not like it’s just another rev of the handheld game. This is a Pokémon experience that’s brand new, and yet it goes back to the very origin of the franchise. It’s about a kid who goes out in the world and finds Pokémon. If you strip away a lot of the complexity and stuff that’s been added on, it’s the most basic expression of that concept."

The next section of the interview talks about the importance of location in Ingress and how it will affect Pokemon Go. They reassure us that no, big city players will not have huge advantages over those of us scattered in smaller towns and less-notable areas. In fact, in Ingress, sometimes small towns and out of the way locales are vital to strategy and gameplay. The idea is that anyone can walk out their door and find a Pokemon within five minutes, though very rare Pokemon may be…well, rarer:

"Hanke: Our goal is to make it so you can walk out of the house and within five minutes, you can find Pokémon. It may not be the most rare Pokémon in the world, but there’ll be a population of Pokémon living near all our players. Gyms will be a bit more rare. You want to find gyms so you can level up your Pokémon and battle there, so it will take a little more effort to get there.Pokémon will live in different parts of the world depending on what type of Pokémon they are. Water Pokémon will live near the water. It may be that certain Pokémon will only exist in certain parts of the world. Very rare Pokémon may exist in very few places. But you can trade. If you live in a place with lots of water Pokémon and you come to an event — we have these Ingress events that are getting bigger and bigger. We’ll have our biggest weekend ever on Saturday.We’ll have events for Pokémon as well. Those are competitive, but they can also be places to trade stuff with other players. Pokémon trading is going to be huge. You can’t get all of them by yourself. If you want all of them you’ll have to trade with other players. Or you have to be someone who takes time off work and travels the world for a year. There may be people who do that."

The interview goes on to discuss more details about Ingress, but comes back to Pokemon to mention that “factions” will exist in Pokemon Go that you can join and compete against. And more than just two! As the Pokemon world has gyms and rivals and teams, so too will Pokemon Go allow you to ally with others for common goals.

The full interview is worth reading, though those are the highlights. At the end, Hanke mentions that he thinks Pokemon Go will be even bigger than World of Warcraft, and he may be right. Given the prevalence of mobile devices and the huge numbers of people who fondly remember Pokemon or still play it, Pokemon Go is sure to be a huge success, if done right. And it already sounds like it’s moving in the right direction.

With Pokemon Go on top of everything else, Pokemon is definitely going all-out for its 20th anniversary in 2016. I can’t wait!

Next: Top 50 Pokemon Games Of All Time