Niantic, the development studio behind Pokemon Go, has announced a new augmented reality game featuring the Transformers franchise. Transformers: Heavy Metal is a new collaboration between Niantic, Hasbro, and TOMY Company that will launch later this year. Transformers: Heavy Metal players will be members of the Guardian Network, a group of humans allied with the Autobots. In the game, players will uncover hidden regions to find resources and battle Decepticons in turn-based battles. The Seattle game studio Very Very Spaceship is leading development of the game, using Niantic's Lightship platform. Transformers: Heavy Metal will have a soft launch in select markets soon, with a worldwide rollout later this year.
Although the concept of collecting resources and battling against foes seems like a well-worn game model for Niantic, there are a few notable differences between Pokemon Go and Transformers: Heavy Metal. For one, the PR specifically mentions that battles will be turn-based instead of real time battles. Additionally, players can choose to participate in battles by themselves or in multiplayer mode - in Pokemon Go, players have to team up with other players in order to defeat raid bosses.
A screenshot of Transformers: Heavy Metal shows Bumblebee squaring off against a number of Decepticons, including Starscream, over what appears to be a hub-like area similar to a Pokemon Go-esque gym. A separate screenshot shows Bumblebee battling a Decepticon boss. You can check out both screenshots below:
Transformers: Heavy Metal continues Niantic's integration of well-known franchises into augmented reality. In addition to Pokemon Go and the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite games, Niantic also has a Settlers of Catan-based game in development, along with a new collaboration with Nintendo featuring Pikmin. Additional collaborations with Nintendo are also in development. Niantic has also been steadily upgrading their AR technology, with a "pilot release" showing off simultaneous AR-based multiplayer released earlier this year. Niantic has also been working to steadily build a 3D mapping database, using Pokemon Go players to scan various points of interest for their games.
Transformers: Heavy Metal will have a soft launch in select markets in the near future. A wider release is expected later this year.