This year’s Disney Expo, D23, was filled with plenty of exciting movie announcements, including the revelation that Inside Out will be getting a sequel and that Niantic, the maker of Pokemon GO, is working on a new project in collaboration with Marvel. There were quite a few other game trailers; fans can expect a Black Panther and Captain America game, as well as Tron: Identity, which is being developed by Mike Bithell. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be receiving a Galactic Edition release in November that comes with 30 new playable characters.
Niantic’s game could be one of the most unique from the recent reveals. Titled Marvel World of Heroes, the upcoming game will make use of augmented reality to allow players to explore multiple alternate realities in the Marvel multiverse, and players will be able to become superheroes, too. Although there is plenty that World of Heroes can learn from Pokemon GO, it should take care to not be too much of a clone.
What Pokemon GO Got Right
Pokemon GO is a mobile game that was released in 2016, and it achieved almost instant meteoric success. Its gameplay was not entirely unique, as augmented reality games existed before Pokemon GO. However, it managed to excel by merging augmented reality with an already popular franchise and extending the playing field to encompass the outdoors. This, combined with the social aspects of the game and its calendar of constant updates, has ensured that it has remained at the top of the downloads charts for years.
Since its initial release, Pokemon GO has grossed over $6 billion in profits for Niantic, so it is no surprise that it will want to extend the idea to other IPs. At the Disney & Marvel Games Showcase, it was revealed that Marvel will be getting the location-based augmented reality treatment with Marvel World of Heroes. Though the game has the potential to be another hit, it must ensure that it does not emulate Pokemon GO too much. Fortunately, it does not seem like this will be the case.
Niantic Unveils Marvel World of Heroes
Like Pokemon GO, Marvel World of Heroes is a mobile game that makes use of augmented reality, and it encourages players to go outside. In the same way that Pokemon GO brings the world of Pokemon to reality, World of Heroes attempts to do the same with the Marvel multiverse. However, while Pokemon GO focuses on Pokemon collecting as its central mechanic, Marvel World of Heroes instead focuses on role-playing, which could make for some interesting cooperative gameplay.
As lead game designer Neil Melville has explained, the game will let players feel like superheroes in their very own neighborhoods. It will feature a robust character avatar system that allows players to “express different body types, gender expressions, and outfit customization.” This focus on role-playing could make World of Heroes a very personal experience, allowing players to feel like they have entered the Marvel world filled with all their favorite superheroes.
Not much has been revealed yet about the upcoming game, but judging by how popular the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its superheroes are, World of Heroes could be another cash cow for Niantic. It presents an interesting concept, especially due to its emphasis on role-playing, and its ability to make players feel like superheroes. The comparisons to Pokemon GO will be unavoidable, but if World of Heroes continues to stress its role-play aspects, it could ensure it carves out enough of a unique niche for itself.
Pokemon GO is available now on Mobile devices.