Before there was Pokemon GO, there was Ingress [Free], Niantic's first shot at developing an Augmented Reality game, and today Niantic announced that It's returning to its first game and rebooting it as Ingress Prime. Ingress was very popular, with 20 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of players participating in more than 2000 events since its launch, but now it's time for Niantic to use all the experience (and money) the developer gained from Pokemon GO and give players a better version of the sci-fi AR game. I know Ingress has a very loyal player base that wasn't necessarily caught up in the Pokemon GO craze, so a new version of the game will be very welcome. And, given that Niantic is also developing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Ingress Prime can act as a testing ground for new tech and ideas.

Ingress Prime will retain the sci-fi world filled with Agents, split between the Enlightened and Resistance factions, trying to discover Portals across the real world. The new update will bring a redesigned UI and sound design, the latter an area of focus Niantic has talked about recently. Sound can help produce Augmented Reality worlds that don’t require players to walk around holding a phone up to their face. I expect to see more sound-based AR in Harry Potter as well.

Ingress Prime will bring a new story arc to the game, but the good news is that current Agents will retain all of their in-game progression, level, and items. The rebooted game will launch in 2018, and it should offer a fun alternative to Pokemon GO.