Augmented reality (AR) has been used in video games before. But it wasn’t until Pokemon Go arrived with a bang last July that the technology received mainstream recognition. Actually, the developer, Niantic, already has another AR-based game under their belt prior to Pokemon Go (it’s called Ingress, if you want to check it out). Geolocation tech, on the other hand, has been around for quite some time now. Your mobile phone and the internet connection at your home uses the technology.
Both AR and geolocation are employed by Niantic in Pokemon Go. And, as other developers catch up with what Niantic has been doing, more similar games will likely arrive in the next few years. Combined with the rise of mobile gaming, developers that are mainly rooted in home and handheld consoles could potentially dive into mobile gaming with AR and geolocation in mind as well. Here’s a list of video game series that would look cool with AR and geolocation.
Digimon (Bandai Namco)
Let’s start with the most obvious candidate: the other “mon” series. An AR-based Digimon game could feature a gameplay similar to Pokemon Go. Players would be able to encounter and catch monsters in the real world. But the focus would be more on raising and training Digimon, instead of catching ‘em all.
Bandai Namco could also turn places of interest and landmarks into pit stops or centers for players to stock up on items, with the most important ones serving as training centers for Digimon to boost stats. A Digimon evolves after reaching specific numbers in certain stats. For example, Agumon would evolve into Greymon with an Attack stat of 500 points. Players would need to really take care of their Digimon by feeding them and keeping them healthy – just like a virtual pet. Actually, Digimon started off as virtual pet game.
The main goal is to simply raise and train every Digimon available. Bandai could also introduce a Pokedex-like record book that keeps track of all the Digimon a player has cared for. To promote interaction between players, Bandai Namco could include training exercises where both players’ Digimon would get significantly higher stat gains. PVP battling could also work, but Digimon is more about raising monsters.
The Persona series is a bit more on the mature side, so an AR-based Persona game probably wouldn’t be as accessible as Pokemon Go. The gameplay would center on players summoning monsters or beings based on their personalities called “persona.” Which they could use to battle monsters populating the real world through AR. Upon booting the game, players would be asked a series of elaborate questions to determine their personality, which determines their starting persona.
Atlus could similarly use places of interest in the real world for two things: 1) Dungeons, which contain items and monsters, for players to explore, and 2) personality test centers for players to visit if they want to get “re-evaluated” and change the form of their current persona. The main goal is to conquer as many dungeons as possible.
Perhaps the most interesting part about an AR-based Persona game is Social Links, first introduced in the PlayStation 2 installment Persona 3. The feature has been present in subsequent games ever since. Simply put, Social Links are a player’s relationship with other characters, which can be made stronger by interacting with said characters. In an AR-based Persona game, Atlus could apply the same principles with Social Links where players could build in-game relationships with other players.
As a reward for developing stronger ties with other players, the game would reward players with bonus items that could help their dungeon exploration. Social Links will actually promote players to interact with each other – literally. Of course, Social Links could easily turn an AR-based Persona game into a dating app. But for some people, that’s a good thing.
You probably saw this coming, huh? Yu-Gi-Oh! is a collectible card game spanning different media platforms. But we’ll just focus on the video games, which are based on the manga and anime. An AR-based Yu-Gi-Oh! game would have a very simple gameplay where players could simply duel each other anytime and anywhere. Actually, fans of the game were likely waiting for the day that they could finally challenge players out in the real world in a virtual duel.
Dueling would net players points, regardless of the outcome of the duel. Points could be used to buy new card packs at select locations. Obviously, Konami would need to allow players to directly trade cards with each other. Additionally, if players win in a duel, they would have the chance to acquire one card from their opponent, with the card level dependent on the winning player’s level to make the win worthwhile.
The downside to allowing players to win other players’ cards is that it could cause the losing player to react in a bad way. Which might lead to confrontations. This, however, promotes more competition amongst players. Konami could also introduce non-playable characters for players to duel with, perhaps inside some kind of hub or something.
There’s also a great way for Konami to make money out of an AR-based Yu-Gi-Oh! game. They could allow real cards to be included in the game via code embedded in the card. Of course, the game would then be easily broken by players with lots of money to burn, so the feature could be debatable.
Rock Band (Harmonix)
Fancy making music with other people? An AR-based Rock Band game would certainly deliver that for you. Well, actually, it would be more of a geolocation-based game with minimal AR. The Rock Band series is popularly known for making use of controllers modeled after real musical instruments. The gameplay typically centers on players playing one instrument to match scrolling “notes” by pressing the correct button on the instrument. Players can also use a microphone as an input if they’re playing the role of a singer. You can watch the video below to have a clearer idea of the gameplay.
The premise of a geolocation-based Rock Band game would be simple. Players could choose to play as any member of a typical “rock band” – lead guitarist, bass guitarist, drummer, and singer. Then they could hook up with other players within the vicinity and play music together. Harmonix could reward players with points or some form of in-game currency depending on how the “performance” turned out. Players could use the in-game currency to unlock more songs.
The game would be really loud, especially if someone is playing as the singer or if both players have turned the volume to maximum to fully enjoy the gameplay. To easily go around this, players could simply use headphones. Then again, an atmosphere “polluted” with music is never a bad thing. Well, at least for music-lovers. Another noteworthy con to this kind of game is that it can be awkward to jam with total strangers.
Another notable series that could also be included in the list is the popular Final Fantasy series. However, with the way Final Fantasy games are built – with random monster encounters, side-quests, item collection and character customization, among others – it’s going to be quite a task for Square Enix. It would simply be too much. But hopefully, as technology advances, the time will come when players will be able to dive into fantastical adventures with the real world as their backdrop.