Pokemon GO is an ambitious title that will bring Pokemon into the world around you, and the origins of the project are very interesting. In a recent interview done by Famitsu with Setsuto Murai, who is representative president of Niantic Japan, he touched on how the games origins came from an April Fool’s Joke.
Murai: We’ve touched about it briefly before (when talking about Ingress), but before we went independent, we were a group in charge of [handling] Google Maps in Google. Do you remember that we had a “Pokemon Challenge” for April Fools in 2014?
Famitsu: Yes. It’s when the ability to search for Pokemon appearing in Google Maps, and you could get Pokemon on the map. I see, so that’s where you became acquainted.
Murai: Yes. That Pokemon Challenge was a chance for us to be able to build relations with people at Pokemon, and then (Pokemon) president (Tsunekazu) Ishihara and John (Hanke, CEO of Niantic) were able to meet and talk. At that time both of their thoughts and visions were also very close, and as a union of their spirit, the talk became “Let’s do something together in the future”.
Who knew a simple joke could turn into a full fledged mobile release!