Niantic and Nintendo’s Pikmin Bloom rollout starts today

Pikmin Bloom aims to bring a little joy to your everyday journeys on foot

Pikmin Bloom – a new mobile game developed by Niantic and Nintendo – has been revealed yesterday. Pikmin Bloom takes place in the Pikmin franchise, and much like Pokémon GO, it’s designed to get people walking.

Niantic’s CEO John Hanke shared more details in an announcement trailer, highlighting how this collaboration took place, the motivation behind the project and how they expect it will encourage walking:

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Much like Pokémon GO, Pikmin is sort of a collectible game, but not quite. Players can collect plant-like creatures which can grow from seeds, grow in size and eventually bloom. In order to do any of that, Pikmin require walking, similar to how PokéEggs require walking to hatch.

Interestingly, the game features a type of “shared virtual reality” for all players playing in the same area: the more you walk, the more bloom there will be, and everyone can see it.

The more you walk, the more Pikmin you’ll collect. Players can also feed and play with their Pikmin, but the core of the game is firmly planted in walking:

  • Step counting is the core mechanic of the game
  • There’s a handy tool that remembers your day and creates a video from your walks

Words from the devs

Niantic’s John Hanke and Madoka Kataoka had an interview with Eurogamer and shared the following:

“[Pikmin Bloom] doesn’t demand your attention at certain times, but it’s there when you want to give it your attention,” Niantic founder John Hanke told Eurogamer in an interview via Zoom this week.

If you want to pay attention to something else, maybe you’re walking with a friend and talking to them, or in a coffee shop and ordering a coffee, you can put the game away at any time. If you’re planting flowers they’ll continue to plant, if you’re still walking it’ll still count your steps. If you were playing another Niantic game you can do that without it competing for your attention.”

“The style of gameplay and frequency of how often someone might play Pikmin Go is pretty different to Pokémon Go,” said Madoka Kataoka, director of UX design at Niantic Tokyo, the studio which worked with Nintendo on the app.

“I think they work pretty well together,” she added, mentioning that during the app’s early development, other unnamed Nintendo franchises were even prototyped – but these didn’t fit Pikmin Bloom’s intended gameplay loop as well.

“We did experiments with a lot of other Nintendo IPs, but famous IPs don’t always mean the best fit for what our goals are, and the experience we wanted to deliver,” Kataoka continued. “Out of all the prototypes and demos we made, we saw Pikmin fit and balance those goals and the vision we had.”

Parting words

We are still debating wether or not to cover Pikmin Bloom on a separate site, and we’ll let you know relatively soon.

Pikmin Bloom’s launch begins in Australia and Singapore today, before releasing elsewhere across the world “in the coming days”.

The game looks relatively straightforward, with more mechanics likely coming in the future – the Pikmin series is also combat oriented, just as Pokémon is towards Trainer Battles. No word about future content has been shared as of yet.

You can learn more about the game on the official website: pikminbloom.com

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