Google has revealed details on it’s incredibly
cryptic campaign known as Project Niantic. It is in fact tied to the launch of a new
location-based mobile game called Ingress. Ingress has been developed by a small internal
group known as Niantic Labs, which is headed up by John Hanke, whose genius led to the
creation of Google Earth, as well as Google Maps, Streetview, and more.
Described as a world within our world, Ingress’s gameplay revolves around capturing and controlling
portals for your faction before the other side can get their hands on them. These
portals exist in real world locations like libraries, museums, and other “interesting
public spaces,” defined automatically by Google’s extremely extensive database of
locations. Capturing a portal is as simple as being nearby
and hitting a button on your phone. But the catch is that you truly do need to be nearby.
Ingress uses your phone’s GPS to know if you truly are at the art museum where you
claim to be. Every action players take, from hacking a neutral portal, to attacking
an enemy-controlled portal, to reinforcing your own portals with items like shields,
costs Exotic Matter, or XM. Gamers collect this XM just by moving through the world.
Plenty of other apps like Red Robot’s Life is Crime, RocketChicken’s CodeRunner, and
“old-fashioned” Geocaches force gamers to get out in the world and explore. Hanke
believes that Ingress’s elaborate storyline and more advanced strategy and tactical elements
will allow the game to stand out. The Ingress App is available only on Android
for now, with iOS to follow. The app is a free download, with Hanke insisting that it
would remain truly free, thanks to integrations with real-world brands like Hint Water and
Zipcar. Can Google be the next major mobile gaming
player? Will Ingress be the title to finally convince gamers to get behind loction-based
gaming in a major way? Comment below and let us know what you think, and for everything
video games in this world, or the world within this world, stay tuned to IGN.