Pokémon GO was always designed as a mobile game to get you up, outside, and moving. But back when the pandemic kicked off in 2020, developer Niantic had to change things up considerably to allow people to still play the game while also staying safe at home.
Now, over two years later, as in-person events are returning and people are attempting to get back to a normal way of life, Niantic has started bringing back exclusive in-person raids to its augmented reality game, starting this weekend with a new raid during Community Day. But GO’s game director Michael Steranka has told Eurogamer that this is a “unique experience” for this weekend, but the company hasn’t ruled out making more exclusive raids.
Steranka went on to say that Niantic “has no intention right now of removing remote raiding for regular tiers”. That means one, three, and five-star raids will remain playable remotely. However, he also stated that “we haven’t been shy about the fact we’re looking at opportunities for players to get playing in person again” which seems to suggest that there will be more of these exclusive in-person raids in the future.
As part of the interview, Steranka also reiterated that Pokémon GO was always meant to be “about exploring the world around you”, and that Niantic did everything it could to meet players where they were because of Covid restrictions. But he feels that “the pendulum swung a little bit too far to having the complete Pokémon GO experience from the comfort of your couch. And that’s just not where we want to be as a product.”
Hopefully, certain raid tiers, PVP battle league, and other remote functions will stay this way for those still unable to get outside as much, and at the very least, Steranka says that “we will be looking at ways to encourage players to explore, rather than continuing to diminish the experience anybody has at home”, so it looks like Niantic are simply looking at expanding in-person events rather than replacing remote functions.
How do you feel about these comments? Are you happy that in-person raids are returning? Let us know!