While Virtual Reality is what many game companies are jumping into one way or another (even Nintendo is getting in on that action), Microsoft has decided to focus on Augmented Reality. Not long ago we talked about their teases for a AR version of the behemoth game franchise, Minecraft. Well, now, the game has been announced, being called Minecraft Earth. It’s more than just a simple AR spin-off however- it’s promising the entire Minecraft experience.
The game will use a map interface as players walk around the real world to put a Minecraft theme on everything. While it’s similar to other AR titles in that regard, such as Pokémon GO, it’s much more elaborate. It will feature “Tappables,” which are tasks you do to unlock blocks to build things either on your own or with other players. One example given at the demo event (as transcribed by Game Informer) was walking down the road and seeing a mining opportunity on the pavement, which you will do to get your materials. You will use that material and your phone’s touch screen to build structures in Minecraft fashion, even letting you place them in the real world around you to leave for other players. The developers also say this isn’t just a spin-off, it’s the whole Minecraft experience in a different way.
“We didn’t build a new Minecraft to fit AR. We didn’t reduce it. We didn’t take it away. We didn’t remove features. It is the game you know, the features that you’re used to – the mobs, the landscapes, the redstone – all those things are here for you to use.”
Minecraft Earth will launch some time this year for both iOS and Android devices. Take a look at the official reveal trailer below.