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Pokémon Go developer scraps soft-launched Catan game


Catan: World Explorers, the Pokémon Go-style game from developer Niantic, is being shut down following a year-long soft launch in certain countries.

Niantic formally announced Catan: World Explorers back in June 2020, and rolled out access over the rest of last year to Australia and New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland and Singapore.

In a blog post published on Friday evening, Niantic broke the news that Catan would not be released further, and instead would be taken offline globally on 18th November.

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The game is now unavailable to download from app stores in countries where it had soft launched, and real-money purchases have been switched off. Any remaining in-game funds can be transferred into Pokémon Go.

"The team originally set out to build a game that turned the world into a Catan gameboard," Niantic wrote. "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.

"We're so proud of the game we made, however we got a little too complicated and a little too far from the original Catan game. The work and knowledge that we learned working on this game is not lost and we're already working hard on more games for the future!"

Last summer, Niantic told Eurogamer it currently had around 10 projects in development, including a "prototype for AR wearables" and "multiple projects" in collaboration with British theatre company Punchdrunk "to reinvent storytelling for a 21st century audience and further expand the horizon of interactive entertainment".

Since then we've seen glimpses of a Pokémon Go tech demo for Microsoft Hololens, as well as its own prototype AR glasses. Niantic has also announced Transformers: Heavy Metal, another licensed version of its real-world gameplay, as well as an intriguing Pikmin smartphone app for Nintendo. We've not heard more on the latter for some months, but earlier this year it was due for launch "later in 2021".

Niantic continues to operate its original game, Ingress, as well as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Pokémon Go, meanwhile, continues to do the numbers more than five years after its launch.

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