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Niantic reveals its new virtual pet game, Peridot

The Pokémon Go and Pikmin Bloom maker is trying something original

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

After finding success with the launch of Pokémon Go, the mobile augmented reality game’s developer, Niantic, is creating an original digital pet of its own. On Wednesday, Niantic announced Peridot, a new game coming to mobile devices that focuses less on catching ’em all and more on caring for, raising, and breeding unique digital creatures.

In Peridot, players will raise magical beasts called Peridots “that feel real,” Ziah Fogel, the game’s senior producer, said during a press briefing earlier this week. Each Peridot is “100% unique and 100% yours,” Niantic says, differing in visual appearance, personality, their likes and dislikes, and their abilities. Players will raise Peridots from birth into adulthood, breed them with other Peridots at nests, and create multiple generations of their virtual pets, leading to new discoveries.

As seen in the game’s teaser trailer above, Peridots come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. They’ll follow real-world archetypes in their designs, which Niantic says are a mix of hand-created assets and procedural generation; some Peridots will share traits inspired by unicorns or peacocks, while others will look like rabbits or clownfish. Other, less literal Peridot archetypes revealed include concepts like glitter, jester, metallic, and kintsugi (the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery). Peridots will breed with others and, using a system patterned after real-world DNA, birth new breeds of Peridot.

A new Peridot is born Image: Niantic
A player rubs the belly of a Peridot Image: Niantic

Like Pokémon Go, Ingress, Pikmin Bloom, and other Niantic augmented reality games, Peridot will place a strong emphasis on walking around and exploring new places in the real world. Daily care of your Peridot is also crucial to its happiness and survival. Players will need to feed, play with, and nurture their virtual pets. Peridots will have “desires,” meaning you may have to take them on walks, feed them a certain piece of foraged food, or visit a nearby point of interest to keep them satisfied.

Peridot will be played in camera-based augmented reality, using Niantic’s Lightship technology. That AR tech helps Peridots “recognize different real-world surfaces such as dirt, sand, water, grass, and foliage,” Niantic says, from which your pet can forage different types of food. Of course, snapping cute photos of your pet Peridot is also a major draw of playing in AR. Niantic says that players will be able to easily share their Peridot pics on social media, directly from the game.

Peridot parents and their offspring in a real-world location Image: Niantic
A zebra-striped Peridot poses in front of giraffes and other wildlife Image: Niantic

Niantic said it plans to soft-launch Peridot in select markets, on Apple’s App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android, in April.