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Niantic dev shares Pokemon GO dev details, future plans and more

by rawmeatcowboy
21 March 2017
GN Version 5.0

The following information comes from the "Origins of Pokemon GO" discussion, given by Niantic technical artist/designer David Hollin...

- Pokemon GO started as an April Fool's joke by Google in 2014
- Niantic CEO John Hanke thought it would make for a fun actual game, so he tried contacting the Pokemon Company
- The Pokemon Co. CEO was a huge fan of Ingress, Niantic's previous game
- the idea to move ahead was made, and Pokemon Co. wanted the game to be simple and unique
- Niantic's main goal in creating Pokemon GO was to get people to walk around outside
- the secondary goal was to get people to notice nearby landmarks and hopefully interact with other players
- the game originally started with the player throwing Pokeballs by pressing a button
- there was no control over how far or curved your throw would be
- before AR was considered, Niantic fiddled with the idea of using Google Earth images and superimposing Pokemon
- this would have required users to download huge images and would not have been practical
- Hollin toyed with incorporating AR mode and his phone camera in his backyard and showed it to his coworkers
- the idea was liked enough to implement into the final game
- Niantic was in a time crunch to release Pokemon GO by Summer because otherwise
- they wanted to get the game out when weather was good and players could get outside
- when the game launched, Niantic had only two server engineers who had to work 24/7 in shifts to handle the server issues
- the response was 50x what Niantic expected
- Niantic keeps tabs on subreddits to see what bugs are being discovered
- Niantic says "Battling is not the worst thing in the world, but it's the worst thing in Pokemon GO."
- trading is being worked on, but Niantic is taking its "sweet time" to release it because it's a veritable Pandora's Box
- Hollin has interest in weather-related spawns
- Niantic was finally able to incorporate different spawns based on the time of day/night
- when asked about Shiny Pokemon being included, he said "no comment"
- regional Pokemon are a thing because Tatsuo Nomura really wanted players to feel the scope of the Pokemon world
- Niantic is working with Apple to see if they can come up with something to count your steps while you're exercising indoors
- Hollin is pretty sure players have discovered all of the Easter Eggs in the game