Pokémon GO was always designed as a mobile game to get you up, out and moving. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, developer Niantic had to change things considerably to allow people to keep playing while staying safe at home.
Now, over two years later, as in-person events return and people try to get back to a normal way of life, Niantic has started bringing exclusive in-person raids to its augmented reality game, starting this weekend with a new raid during Community Day. But GO game director Michael Steranka has told Eurogamer that this is a “unique experience” for this weekend, but the company hasn’t ruled out making more exclusive forays.
Steranka went on to say that Niantic “has no intention at this time to remove remote raiding for regular levels.” That means one, three, and five star raids will still be playable remotely. However, he also stated that “we haven’t been shy about the fact that we’re looking at opportunities for players to get back into the game in person,” which seems to suggest that there will be more of these exclusive in-person raids in the future. .
As part of the interview, Steranka also reiterated that Pokémon GO was always meant to “explore the world around you,” and that Niantic did its best to meet players where they were due to Covid restrictions. But he feels “the pendulum has swung too far to get the full Pokémon GO experience from the comfort of your couch. And that’s not where we want to be as a product.”
Hopefully, certain raid levels, the PVP battle league, and other remote features will remain that way for those who can’t get out as much yet, and at the very least, Steranka says “we’ll be looking at ways to encourage players to explore, rather than continue diminishing the experience anyone has at home,” so it sounds like Niantic is simply looking to expand in-person events rather than replace remote features.
How do you feel about these comments? Are you happy that in-person raids are back? Let us know!