Niantic’s next game is Peridot, a virtual pet game reminiscent of everything from Tamagotchi to Neopets. It’s Niantic’s latest attempt to recreate the overwhelming success of Pokemon Go, this time with an experience geared firmly toward casual audiences.

In development for two and a half years, Peridot is Niantic’s first original property since Ingress. It’s built around breeding, raising, and playing with mystical creatures called Peridots, who are awakening after thousands of years.

Like Niantic’s other games, Peridot will be structured around exploring the real world with your virtual pets. Using Nianatic’s Lightship ARDK technology, Peridots can recognize differing terrain and forage for different items depending on whether they’re on grass, water, or sand. Gameplay will also change depending on the different weather patterns, and Niantic says that it’s working on implementing snow as well.

Peridot will feature Daily Tasks including petting, feeding, and walking your ceature. Individual Peridots will also have their own desires, such as going to a specific destination or eating a blue tomato. There will be no consequences if you neglect your Peridot, so they will never die if you get busy and decide to do something else for a while. Instead, Niantic wants to reward players for coming back and playing more often.

“To be perfectly honest, we looked at a lot of pets in games. Our game design team was playing most of them while were iterating on them,” producer Ziah Fogel says.

Peridots can be bred together upon reaching maturity, with each Peridot varying in likes, dislikes, abilities, and appearance. Individual archetypes include “Unicorn” and “Clownfish,” along with more esoteric themes like “Jester.” Breeding will take place in special nests themed around certain archetypes, with some able to mutate one feature, and others able to mutate a host of features.

Certain archetypes will be especially rare and prized among players, Niantic says. Each Peridot will have its own unique DNA, created with a mix of hand-created assets and procedural generation.

While Peridot will be less about raids and battles than Pokémon Go, and more about raising a series of virtual pets, Niantic says it’s doing its best to take into consideration the needs of rural players.

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“It’s something we have been thinking a lot about,” Fogel says. “This game in particular, while it does ask you to go to the Point of Interest [in-game areas based on real-world landmarks], particularly for the breeding loop, there are other elements that can be done without a Point of Interest.”

They cite feeding, petting, and training as elements that don’t require the activation of a Point of Interest. In additon, Fogel says Niantic is looking into other ways to help rural players, such as bringing in floating elements.

Niantic also addressed microtransactions — another thorny subject among players. Niantic says Peridot will feature a “wide variety” of in-app purchases, including the ability to make creatures grow faster, or to have an easier time breeding in a particular habit or place of interest.

The balance of progression against microtransactions have occasionally sparked frustration among Pokémon Go players, but it also earned a cool $1 billion in 2020. One way or another, microtransactions were a given for Peridot.

Either way, Peridot is perhaps Niantic’s chance to capture the ongoing appeal of Pokemon on its own terms without feeling like an off-brand clone. It will be available in select markets later this month in both the App Store and Google Play. Niantic did not elaborate on the markets where it would be available.

“It is quite different [from Pokémon Go],” Fogel says. “We think that Peridot is going to appeal to a wide range of audiences.”

Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.


Source: IGN Video Games All
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