Remember Catan: World Explorers from 2019, probably not? A project by Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs to fuse augmented reality (AR) geolocation gaming and the renowned Catan board game together, it’s about to be closed down for go, before it even saw an official launch.
After the 2019 reveal, Catan: World Explorers saw an early access launch in the US and a few other select regions. Much like Niantic Lab’s other AR titles, the original plan was to roll out to more and more countries but that’s no longer happening the company recently confirmed.
Catan: World Explorers has already been removed from the App Store as well as all real-money purchases from the in-game shop. If you’ve been playing the videogame for the past year then you’ve got until 18th November 2021, 7am UTC, at which point the servers will be shut down and the title will be no more.
While there’s been no official reason as to why Catan: World Explorers is being closed down a blog post does note the difficulties in such an endeavour: “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 Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game was a tough challenge.” Going on to add: “…we got a little too complicated and a little too far from the original CATAN game.”
The videogame will be going out with a bang though, with the team saying: “we have some gameplay ideas that we are planning will make the next few months of gameplay really exciting!” Also, with a couple of months to go players will be able to spend their remaining gold balance on cut-price shop items or transfer their currency to Pokémon Go.
With Niantic Labs closing Catan: World Explorers it shows the studio can’t always replicate the massive success of Pokémon Go, so it’s unclear if this will have any effect on upcoming titles like Transformers: Heavy Metal. Other franchises to get into the mobile AR gaming genre include Harry Potter and most recently The Witcher: Monster Slayer. For continued updates on AR, keep reading VRFocus.