A little over a week ago, Microsoft released a teaser video which seemed to hint at the company’s plans at taking on augmented reality (AR) based games such as Pokemon GO. The trailer teased that the company would be launching an AR version of Minecraft, and sure enough they have.
Dubbed Minecraft Earth, this is a version of Minecraft that will be playable by leveraging the use of AR technology. Speaking to The Verge in an interview, Minecraft Earth’s game director Torfi Olafsson revealed that the game is more of an adaptation of Minecraft rather than just straight porting the original over to mobile and applying AR tech to it.
According to Olafsson, “We have tried to stay very true to the kind of core design pillars of Minecraft, and we’ve worked with the design team in Stockholm to make sure that the spirit of the game is carried through.” The game will task players to explore their neighborhoods where they will bump into Minecraft characters, variants, and “tapables” which they’ll need to collect in order to complete their builds.
Olafsson adds, “We have covered the entire planet in Minecraft. Every lake is a place you can fish, every park is a place you can chop down trees. We’ve actually taken maps of the entire world and converted them to Minecraft.” At the moment, Minecraft Earth isn’t available for download just yet, but the company plans on launching a closed beta for iOS and Android devices this summer. Players who are interested can sign up here.