Niantic Inc. has ended development on a planned augmented reality version of Settlers of Catan. Earlier today, the developers of CATAN - World Explorers announced that it would be discontinuing its beta rollout and would be winding down support for existing players. The game will officially sunset on November 18th, 2021. "We're so proud of the game we made, however we got a little too complicated and a little too far from the original CATAN game," a Niantic spokesperson wrote in a blogpost explaining the decision. "The work and knowledge that we learned working on this game is not lost and we're already working hard on more games for the future."
Niantic first announced CATAN - World Explorers back in 2019, with an aim of developing the popular board game franchise (which focuses on resource control and trading in order to score points) into an augmented reality game similar to Pokemon Go.
It may come as a surprise that CATAN - World Explorers had ever been released, as the game was only launched in a handful of countries. The soft beta for the game began in July 2020 and CATAN - World Explorers was available in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark, and Switzerland. The game had several interesting features, such as a map reset at the start of every season (thus preventing one in-game team or player from dominating too much of a region), the creation and growth of a settlement, and interactions and relationship-building with in-game NPCs.
CATAN - World Explorers players will no longer be able to make real-money purchases in the game, and the app will no longer be available for download from the App Store. However, Niantic will increase bonuses over the game's final weeks to send players out with a smile. Players can also choose to transfer their currency to Pokemon Go if they wish.
Niantic has several other augmented games in development, including a game that uses that Transformers franchise and one based on Nintendo's Pikmin. Niantic is also working with Nintendo to develop several other mobile games based on other Nintendo properties.