Niantic has encouraged the world to roam the streets as Pokémon trainers and wizards… next up? Time to transform and roll out.
Eighties mega toy Transformers is the latest IP to partner with Niantic to build a map-heavy, geolocation-centric game.
Details are still a bit light, but here’s just about everything we know:
- It’ll be called Transformers: Heavy Metal. They’ve put up a pre-registration page here.
- It’s being built in collaboration with Hasbro, TOMY and Seattle game team Very Very Spaceship.
- Players will be a part of the “Guardian Network,” according to the announcement, “a group of humans who have banded together with the Autobots in a war against the Decepticons.”
- It’s built on Niantic’s Lightship platform, the same underlying engine that powers Pokémon GO, Harry Potter Wizards Unite and the still in-development Catan: World Explorers.
- When’s it arriving? Nothing too specific yet, but it’ll launch in “select markets” soon, and then globally “later this year.” This staged rollout tends to be Niantic’s approach; Pokémon GO landed first in Japan, while Catan was quietly rolled out in New Zealand last year.
They’ve only released a bit of concept art so far, and it suggests gameplay not unlike GO and Wizards Unite. That battle screen on the right definitely looks a whole lot like a Pokémon GO battle:
Will this one take over the world the way Pokémon GO did in the summer of 2016? Maybe not — that one hit a lot of the right notes at the right time, the perfect blend of novelty and nostalgia. But Wizards Unite has found enough of an audience that it’s still in active development two years after launch, so it seems Niantic sees room for more map-centric games. A rep for Niantic mentioned this being one of 10 real-world titles that the company currently has in development, suggesting that they see lots of room there.