Niantic, the studio behind the hit mobile game Pokemon GO, is working with Netflix to develop an animated series based on their other game Ingress. The series, Ingress: The Animation, will also tie into the game’s upcoming sequel Ingress Prime.
Ingress: The Animation will be produced by Crafter. Yuhei Sakuragi - a noted animator who is best known for directing 2015 movie Neon Genesis: Impact - will be directing the series. Takeshi Honda - art director for the famed anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion - will be in charge of character designs.The Japanese network Fuji TV will be teaming up with Netflix to distribute the series worldwide. Cast members are still to be announced.
Plans for Ingress: The Animation were revealed by Variety. In an interview, Niantic founder John Hanke said of the series: "The anime peers into the ‘Ingress’ universe and allows viewers to see a part of that universe that is uniquely expressed." In the world of Ingress, matter leaking through portals has caused some people to develop powers. The series will focus on Makoto and Sarah, both of whom have powers, who are on the run from a man named Jack. Makoto will have the power to tell the history of an object by touching it, and Sarah will the ability to see certain aspects of time and space. The three end up in an Enlightened versus Resistance battle - the two factions available in the game - while Makoto and Sarah also struggle to stop an organization that is abusing the matter via human experimentation. This organization will also play a role in Ingress Prime.
The series takes place in a parallel universe to the game, which will allow for both to tell separate stories without worry of contradicting each other. Unlike their predecessor, Ingress Prime and Ingress: The Animation are being developed with a broader audience in mind. Both the game and series are scheduled to be released in October 2018. Planning for these two projects started as early as the initial release of Ingress in 2013.
Having two anime industry power players like Sakuragi and Honda on-board can only work to the series’ benefit, and their names alone will be more than enough to draw many anime lovers in. Meanwhile, its connection to the Ingress games will hopefully lure in players who might not necessarily be interested in anime. It's doubtful that Ingress Prime will reach the same levels of success and popularity achieved by Pokemon GO, and it shouldn't be expected to, but it's definitely possible for the game to carve out a pop culture niche of its own if done well. Niantic clearly seems to be attempting the creation of a new multimedia franchise with Ingress, and it'll be interesting to see how things turn out.