Not everything that Niantic makes is a smash hit. Or rather, not everything will be successful in the developer’s augmented reality style of gameplay. The company is cancelling and shutting down their Catan-based AR game, Catan: World Explorers, by the end of the year.
We know what you’re thinking: “Wait, when did they make a Catan mobile game?” And in complete fairness, they didn’t release it many places yet. Announced in June of last year, Catan: World Explorer was only available as a soft launch in certain countries (Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland, and Singapore). As the name implies, it was a real-world mobile take on the popular board game, Settlers of Catan. Users could travel, collect resources, trade, and so on. Every month, the “map” would reset and players began again.
While a worldwide launch was originally planned, the game did not build up as planned. Citing mostly development issues, Niantic has decided to give up and shut the game down on November 18.
“The team originally set out to build a game that turned the world into a Catan game board. We had a vision for trading, harvesting, and building up the world in seasonal play and resetting the board each month, just like you do for each new game you play at home.
But trying to adapt such a well-designed board game to a global, location-based MMO game was a tough challenge. We’re so proud of the game we made. However, we got a little too complicated and a little too far from the original Catan game.”
While unfortunate, Niantic hasn’t stopped expanding their style into other intellectual properties. They still have Pokémon GO, of course. And while not as popular, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite remains sustainable. The dev studio also announced not long ago that they are collaborating with Hasbro, Tomy, and Nintendo to make games based on franchises like Transformers and Pikmin.
In our opinion, we aren’t actually that enthusiastic about all this. Niantic struck gold with their game formula of Pokémon GO. Taking that and reskinning it for other IPs isn’t enough to make us want to play another AR game, really. But hey, we can see why someone else would. More power to ya, then.