Niantic is understood for its strategy to augmented actuality and location-based gaming. In the summer season of 2016, Pokémon Go modified the world and the way communities kind round cell video games. Greg Borrud, the final supervisor at Niantic’s Los Angeles studio, has watched the business develop and evolve from a reliance on PCs to consoles to telephones which might be extra highly effective than our 1997 Pentiums.

I sat down through the second day of GamesBeat Summit 2020 to speak about Borrud’s origin story within the sport business, his work at Seismic Games, Niantic’s strategy to AR through the COVID-19 pandemic, and what the way forward for AR might have in retailer for Niantic’s followers.

Borrud’s entrance into video games is fairly acquainted, in that he principally fell into it.

“I was kind of working in the television business,” Borrud started, “and this is back in the day when [gaming] was doing a lot of full-motion video games. And I was on a film shoot for a full-motion CD-ROM game for Capcom. I started thinking, ‘Huh, instead of being on the film side, I’d love to be on the video game side.’”

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From there, Borrud launched his profession in gaming at Activision, principally in real-time technique for PC, the place he stayed for three years earlier than putting out on his personal in 1998 with the “unfortunately named” Pandemic Studios. Borrud wasn’t dissatisfied together with his work at Activision, however the inner development of subcontracting video games to work-for-hire studios, together with id and Neversoft, impressed him to discovered his personal studio.

“As the industry evolved, at that point, consoles really started to become a thing,” Borrud continued. “So as a studio, we evolved from a PC shop into a console shop. And that’s when we really started moving into what would define Pandemic Studios with games like Star Wars: Battlefront, Mercenaries, Destroy All Humans, Full Spectrum Warrior, Saboteur. Just a great run of [games] for consoles.”

Seismic shift

Niantic’s Greg Borrud: From falling into games to making games for the real world

Above: Seismic labored on Skylanders at Call of Duty for Activision.

Image Credit: Activision

When Pandemic was shut down in 2009, two years after EA bought the studio, and all 228 staff have been laid off, “those people just spread throughout the industry.” Borrud continues to take care of contact and laud his former teammates as now working with “some of the finest studios in the world.”

But the end result of Borrud’s years within the business was in founding Seismic Games on the tail finish of 2010. The thought was to convey collectively the whole lot that Borrud had discovered, the years of experience and expertise, and coalesce it into a brand new studio.

“Let’s take all of this expertise at building [games], take these people that we really love working with, and start looking at the new platforms,” Borrud stated. “At the time, it was social, Facebook was in there for a hot minute, and then we were right onto mobile. It was the next phase of our evolution.”

Seismic labored on quite a few completely different tasks for Activision, together with Call of Duty and Skylanders, but it surely actually hit its stride on cell with its partnership with Kabam and Marvel in Marvel Strike Force, which launched in March 2018.

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