Ingress, created by Google’s Niantic Labs, lets players compete to capture landmarks, points of local interest and art in a game dubbed the ‘battle of the future of mankind’.
As gameplay requires players to walk, run, or bus to visit locations or complete missions, the game combines both technology and physical activity.
In November, hundreds of gamers are expected to come to Scotland’s capital, as Edinburgh becomes the UK focus for an Ingress event known as “Abaddon”.
Abaddon will see players battle for control of clusters of “portals”, each one a point of interest in Edinburgh, using their smartphones as scanners and their own stamina to keep going.
The events in Edinburgh and the other Abaddon sites around the world will effect how the Ingress plot develops.
Niantic Labs turns Ingress and the game’s complex plot into a transmedia enterprise by complementing the smartphone game with a series of novels, comic books, YouTube shows and real world events like Edinburgh’s Abaddon. To support these efforts, Niantic employs arrange of professional actors who bring the plotline to life on YouTube and in social media.
In the series, actor Ione Butler plays the in-game presenter and and Scottish actor Katy Townsend plays the in-game investigative journalist Klue. Both are two regular fan favourites.
It’s hoped, that at least one of these stars will visit Edinburgh for Abaddon to assist with the event and to appear in filming that’ll showcase the city and local players for the international audience.
Ingress player Andrew Girdwood, said: “Edinburgh is a hot spot of Ingress activity. As a city full of historic locations and art there are well over 1,000 portals for players to visit. This compares to some parts of America where players have to get in their car and drive to reach the next portal.
“The result? The city is busy. As the Enlightened put it; Edinburgh is under attack. The arrival of Abaddon, which will bring Ingress players from across the UK and further afield, will create even more activity in Scotland.
“The capital will be locked down by the Resistance’s blue mind control fields, only to be liberated by the Enlightened’s green, over and over again in the run up to the event.”
Of the two sides in conflict one is the Enlightened. The Enlightened believe that mankind should be able to determine their own future, boosted by the secrets unveiled by the Ingress world, even if there might be risks.
The Enlightened fight to keep the mysterious resource of “exotic matter” free for humanity, out of control of shady corporations, and strive for a better future.
The goals of the Enlightened are opposed by the Resistance. The Resistance worry about the discovery of exotic matter and whether it is associated with strange forces.
Led by an artificial intelligence, the Resistance aim to protect humanity by converting people into AI-human hybrids, controlling the exotic matter and allying with genetic engineers.
Ingress can be played alone or in groups and an estimated five million players have engaged worldwide.
Google is not normally associated with creative successes like Ingress. In August Niantic Labs announced it would be splitting from the company and going independent.
Even with Google’s new Alphabet structure, such a breakaway move is unusual, but Niantic have already announced Pokemon Go as a new alternative reality game. Next up? Monster hunting in Edinburgh.
The game can be downloaded for free from Ingress.com.