Niantic, the company behind popular augmented reality mobile games Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Ingress, has announced that they are teaming up with Punchdrunk, the UK-based interactive theater company known for creating one-of-a-kind immersive experiences. While the nature of their collaboration has not yet been revealed, it is speculated to be connected to the multiple new games in the early development stage, which Niantic has recently teased.
Punchdrunk is best known for its landmark production, Sleep No More, which adapts the story of Shakespeare's classic tragedy Macbeth within a film noir setting. Instead of a traditional theater, it takes place in a building designed after the fictional McKittrick Hotel. During their three-hour experience, audience members wear masks. They are encouraged to explore the space in whatever order they desire, interacting with different scenes and characters in different rooms of the hotel.
Many Punchdrunk fans have compared the experience of attending Sleep No More to exploring the world of a video game. There are lots of "hidden secrets" to discover, from small scenes to props inside of drawers and chests, which explain backstory and lore surrounding the hotel and its inhabitants. No two trips through the world of Sleep No More are ever precisely the same.
Felix Barrett, the artistic director of Punchdrunk, made an enthusiastic statement regarding the collaboration with Niantic.
"I believe that Punchdrunk and Niantic can create something that has never been done before. They do it in AR, we do it in real life. Collide the two and I think we will blow people's minds; bend the rules of genre and redefine the norms of mobile gaming."
Hopefully, more information regarding the collaboration will be announced as the project develops further.
Currently, Niantic is rumored to be working on up to 10 new AR-based games. One, which is expected to enter beta testing soon, is an augmented mobile phone-based version of the popular board game Settlers of Catan.
What would you like to see from a Punchdrunk and Niantic team-up? Let us know!