Tag Archives: Niantic Labs

Looking Back and My Hopes for Pokémon Go in 2023 (After its First Community Day)

8 Jan

pokemon go title e1471844779441

Niantic’s Pokémon GO had quite the mish mash of hits and misses back in 2022. From massive coding gaffes that made gameplay frustrating to the release of new pocket monsters with statistics that can break the game, I’m glad this year is off with a good start. This weekend’s Community Day bonus went off without a hitch! Although how the new pokémon is supposed to appear at stops is said to be a bug by this software developer, I hope they can leave it alone because it makes finding them easier.

I’m guessing the coders learned from their mistakes. As I look back at everything they’ve offered in the past, all I did was shake my head. Whoever wrote the code didn’t consider all the permutations, or considered the issues that would go along with “copy and overlaying” one Pokémon’s appearance (and statistics) over another, or where spawns should exist, leading to these pocket monsters disappearing off the map! As a result with the former problem, if placed in a battle environment, there would be unbalanced fights. That is, their biggest gaffe was with Zorua. This mimic was launched at the end of Community Day in early October. The lack of testing caused this Pokémon to get crazy stats and, if used in PvP battle or raids, it would break the game.

As we enter 2023, a new ‘mon for completionists is finally released! This weekend released the elusive Kecleon, and it likes hiding. Thankfully, it does not copy the abilities of another pocket monster. But, it won’t pop up unless gamers touch every spinner in hopes this invisible wonder is there.

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What’s Next Niantic, After Daring to Cancel Transformers: Heavy Metal?

1 Jul

Pokémon Go creator Niantic announces Transformers: Heavy Metal AR game - Polygon

The shakeup at Niantic Inc. cannot go unnoticed. As published on Entrepreneur 360, Tristan Rose wrote, “According to Niantic’s Crunchbase profile, Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, has raised $770 million over 5 rounds giving them a post-money valuation in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion as of November 23, 2021.”

And eight months later, this company is laying off workers (up to 90, according to Bloomberg) and changing priorities. In other reports, John Hanke wrote in an internal email to say this company is “facing a time of economic turmoil” and had already been “reducing costs in a variety of areas.”

The shift is unusual, and many fans are speculating.

The effect on upcoming products means cancelling them altogether. Not only was Niantic to help market and distribute Transformers: Heavy Metal, a Pokémon GO like game, but also they were to produce three other games using the same engine. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, fans can’t say. Very few people may have seen a demo. I wasn’t too excited myself when I offered my opinion about it, but I’d still try the game out. The website for this game is still online at time of writing.

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Pokemon GO in 2022

24 Jan

pokemon-go-logoPokemon GO isn’t off to a good start in 2022. Players are getting a mix of both worlds; the developer of the game, Niantic, believes everyone is returning outside to play but not everyone truly is! Some parts of the world are knee-deep in pandemic woes, and are self-isolating. Also, what’s offered in the coming weeks feels tailored towards new players rather than old. Where’s those missing Pokemon for those wanting to complete their PokeDEX? And why can’t we have other options to gather coins?

Two Community Days for grabbing Spheal and Bulbasaur were not terribly exciting. According to reports, this cute walrus type beast is worthless in combat situations. It’s not recognized in the meta and it’s a shame I can’t harvest all that ivory and convert that into coins. I also get the sense the next one won’t be as exciting (confirmed in update: Hoppip? Really?) As for the plant-based pocket monster, I was semi-excited to go grinding for mega candy. I thought the shorter three-hour window made more sense so an entire day is not wasted with a game.

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“No Hope” for a Franchise. Transformers: Heavy Metal AR

16 Jun

Pokémon Go creator Niantic announces Transformers: Heavy Metal AR game -  PolygonBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The battle for which faction will occupy Earth is not likely at the core of the upcoming mobile AR game, Transformers: Heavy Metal. The media’s abuzz about bringing this Hasbro property to the videogame world again, and honestly, I’m not excited. I’m more curious in when the reboot will be brought back to the screen again (recent Netflix program notwithstanding).

Niantic Inc is involved in the development cycle, and early images suggest this product may well be another Pokemon GO clone. Seattle-based software house, Very Very Spaceship (known for Truck Stars) is leading the development. This four-year-old business doesn’t have a lot of recognition to get some fans excited.

This company is a self-described, “motley crew of space faring designers, engineers, artists and storytellers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. For the past three years, under the leadership of BAFTA winning founder Sean Vesce (Never Alone, Tomb Raider Series, Mechwarrior Series), we have been solving the problems of the unknown for incredible partners like Google, Microsoft and others. We are a tight-knit group of makers thriving in our undiscovered future, making shared game experiences in AR, VR, Geolocation, Live Streaming and more. In addition to our client work, we develop and release original indie experiments like the recent Knife 2 Meat U, available at our itch.io page.”

Considering how huge Transformers fandom is, Hasbro’s quality control division ought to squash any bumblebees.

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Is the Pokémon GO’s Snap Celebration Event Broken? My Hopes for May Events…

29 Apr

pokemon-go-logoBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Taking part in these back-to-back Pokémon GO events can be exhausting. Not everyone has to participate, but they do anyways. Part of the reason is that most long-time players want mega candies for specific ‘mons as spawn rates are increased for a few days. I’m after more Magikarp candy myself. They help evolve the lil’ beasts beyond level 40.

The only aspect of the game which keeps me going are the weekly special event completion quests. The rewards are decent. This week’s celebration of the release of Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch is okay at best, and the one-time special field research tasks are incredibly broken. It’s easy to photograph the same wild beast over and over to breeze through the tasks. There’s nothing unique to “photographing” your ‘mon with the real surroundings, other than to post on it twitter with the #gosnapshot hashtag that you’re is participating in this four-day event. The purpose is more about showing off your trophies and so far, all I got was a shiny Lotad. I’ve done a lot of photos of wild pokémon and only had one Smergle show up out of 60 or so snapshots. The rate seems better after random creatures are caught though. It’s hilarious that I can recursively photograph this artist and get another appearing on top over and over. 

In a world that is supposed to be in lockdown because of the third wave of covid-19 cases, we shouldn’t be encouraged to leave home and find these pocket monsters. Technically, it can all be avoided since parks and outdoor spaces allow for distancing. 

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