Punchdrunk to develop AR video games with creator of Pokemon Go

Immersive theatre specialist and AR company will deliver gaming experiences.

Punchdrunk: currently presenting Sleep No More in Shanghai
Punchdrunk: currently presenting Sleep No More in Shanghai

Punchdrunk, the immersive-theatre specialist, and Niantic, the augmented-reality company behind Pokémon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite, have announced a partnership to create AR video games fused with live experiences.

Multiple projects will be developed that bring together Punchdrunk’s expertise in immersive storytelling and Niantic’s knowledge of AR combined with experiences that include movement and social interaction, enabling players to take part in real-world adventures.

The collaboration is set to enable a tech-empowered audience experience combined with gaming, creating a fusion of digital and physical worlds.

Felix Barrett, artistic director at Punchdrunk, said: "It is hugely exciting to be joining forces with the pre-eminent AR company in the world. Those that have seen Sleep No More often liken the experience to how it might feel to walk into a video game. I believe that Punchdrunk and Niantic can create something that has never been done before. They do it in AR, we do it in real life; collide the two and I think we will blow people's minds – bend the rules of genre and redefine the norms of mobile gaming."

Punchdrunk is currently presenting Sleep No More at Shanghai's McKinnon Hotel, co-produced by SMG Live. Its New York production at The McKittrick Hotel, produced by Emursive, is currently on hiatus as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown.