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Pokémon Go developer Niantic making Pikmin AR game with Nintendo

New Pikmin app to launch in 2021

Image: Nintendo
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Pokémon Go and Ingress developer Niantic is working with Nintendo on new apps that will combine real-world augmented reality (AR) technology and Nintendo’s stable of characters. The first game coming as part of the partnership is an AR game based on Pikmin.

Nintendo said in a news release Monday that Niantic’s take on Pikmin will feature gameplay that will “encourage walking and make the activity more enjoyable.” The app will launch in 2021. It’s being developed by Niantic’s Tokyo studio, which was established in 2018.

“It’s going to be very different from [Pokémon Go],” Tatsuo Nomura, head of Niantic Tokyo Studio, said on Twitter.

“As we continue to expand our games portfolio, it was a natural next step to team up with Nintendo,” John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, said in a news release. “We’re looking forward to shaping the future of AR together, bringing Nintendo’s beloved game characters to life for mobile game players around the world.”

“Niantic’s AR technology has made it possible for us to experience the world as if Pikmin are secretly living all around us,” added Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto. “Based on the theme of making walking fun, our mission is to provide people a new experience that’s different from traditional games. We hope that the Pikmin and this app will become a partner in your life.”

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Pikmin franchise, which launched on Nintendo’s GameCube in late 2001. Nintendo re-released Pikmin 3, originally a Wii U game, for Nintendo Switch in fall 2020 as Pikmin 3 Deluxe.

Niantic found incredible success with the launch of Pokémon Go in 2016, which built upon the company’s Ingress AR game platform. The company launched a new AR game based on the Harry Potter IP, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, in 2019, and is developing or co-developing titles based on the Catan board games and a companion for Pokémon Go called Pokémon Sleep.

Nintendo has experimented with mobile games in recent years, with varying levels of success. The company’s mobile slate includes Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroes, Mario Kart Tour, Dr. Mario World, and Dragalia Lost.

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