“Ingress,” the original mobile phone augmented reality game created by the team behind “Pokemon Go,” is getting its own animated series this fall, company founder John Hanke told Variety.
“Ingress: The Animation” will be created by animation studio Crafter under the direction of noted computer-graphics artist Yuhei Sakuragi and with character design by “Neon Genesis Evangelion’s” art director Takeshi Honda. Fuji TV is working with Netflix to deliver the anime worldwide.
“The anime peers into the ‘Ingress’ universe and allows viewers to see a part of that universe that is uniquely expressed,” Hanke said in an interview earlier this week.
The show takes place in the world of “Ingress” where exotic matter is leaking into the world through portals. That matter can influence people in different ways. Some gain a sort of super mental power. The show focuses on Makoto and Sarah, two people impacted by the matter. Makoto can touch things and see their history. Sarah can see certain aspects of time and space. The two are thrown together after something happens to Sarah and Makoto, who is a police officer, is brought in to figure it out. The duo ends up on the run together away from a third, mysterious character named Jack. The three get pulled into Ingress’ Enlightened versus Resistance battle, but are also trying to figure out the motives behind a corporation that seems to be abusing exotic matter to experiment on humans and do “bad things,” Hanke said. This new antagonist will also appear in the new “Ingress” game.
While the show is entirely new material, the storyline overlaps with the ongoing story of the original “Ingress” and will be used to introduce “Ingress Prime,” the sequel to the original augmented reality game. Both the show and game are expected to launch around October, Hanke said.
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The original “Ingress” can feel a bit like “Pokemon Go” light, especially since that game was built on the tech of the original “Ingress.” In the original location-based game, players are in one of two factions, traveling to real-world locations to capture and hold them. The game was released as a beta in 2012 and has had 20 million downloads since.
“Ingress Prime” will be a rework of “Ingress” built on lessons learned from both it and “Pokemon Go.”
“We learned a lot from ‘Ingress’ and now we’re continuing to learn from ‘Pokemon Go,’” Hanke said. Those learned lessons include things like how people use augmented reality, accessibility, working on a game with a much broader awareness, having shareable components and, perhaps most importantly, making sure it’s easy to get into and understand the game.
“We’re trying to take those lessons and make ‘Ingress more accessible,” he said. “‘Ingress’ is a deliberately obscure game. We want to make sure people can make their way through that and get to the actual gameplay. We want to make that smoother for ‘Ingress Prime.’”
The anime and the new game will be, on some level intertwined, especially when it comes to the story, something Niantic has been steadily nursing since the original “Ingress” launched.
“The story has continued uninterrupted since launch,” Hanke said. “That’s going to build to the launch of the ‘Ingress Prime’ universe.”
The anime will “directly spring” out of the story that Niantic has told to date, familiar and new characters seen through the lens of anime. The game’s story will get a different sort of treatment though. The premise, Hanke said, is that players are entering a parallel to the ‘Ingress’ universe.
“There will be familiar characters and situations that have become famous in the game, but they will be experienced through a fresh interpretation with new characters, new actors,” he said. “Think of it like a reboot of a superhero franchise.”