If you ask anyone in the world about mobile gaming, I'm sure many of the answers will be to mention Pokémon Go. Niantic's social phenomenon has continued to grow and expand year on year since 2016, and despite all the changes that have been coming, it seems that its developers believe they are only at the beginning of a long road in the Pokémon adventure.
We recently had the chance to chat with Director Alex Moffit and Producer Chad Jones about the game's trajectory over the seven years since its launch, and also about some of the new features coming soon to keep the formula fresh, such as the Routes.
"Well, so the feature that I've been working on the last year is called Routes, which is a new user-generated content feature that's coming to Pokémon Go where trainers are going to be able to record their favourite walks as paths within the game that'll then be discoverable by trainers around the world, who when they walk them, they're going to not only get gameplay mechanics like buffs and boosts and finding Pokémon XP, et cetera, but they're also going to be able to follow in the footsteps of their fellow trainers and see things about the world that they may not have known existed."
This feature seems well suited to bringing Pokémon Go to those less populated areas where it is more difficult to interact with other types of Pokémon or Trainers.
"Like having a tour guide of somebody local to the area showing them the magic of hidden staircases or secret gardens or paths through the woods that they didn't know.
It's a feature that, because it's a free-form recorded path, we expect it's going to be something that applies to the strengths of rural communities by making things like nice trails or rails-to-trails or river walks or hikes accessible in the game and something that players can use to further their aims and catch Pokémon."
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that with the years and changes, the game may no longer offer as much challenge or fun for older players, but both Moffit and Jones smile confidently when asked where they see Pokémon Go in another seven years' time.
"I mean, I think we've barely scratched the surface. I think this game has a lot of legs.
I think that, frankly speaking, what can be done with a real-world type of game has yet to really be fully realised, and we have a lot of really exciting things coming."