A couple weeks ago, Microsoft teased its audience at the very end of a Keynote about something that clearly was an Augmented Reality version of the popular game: Minecraft. Today, we finally have more details!
Minecraft Earth (or MCE) will be free-to-play and will be available for both Android and iOS devices. A closed beta will begin this summer.
Unlike what we had expected, the game will rely on Geolocation, which means that similarly to Pokemon GO, Jurassic World Alive, and many others, players will have different tasks to complete in the real world. The game will rely on Open Street Map in order to determine the best locations to use for in-game actions/tasks. Microsoft is dedicated to avoid the drama and concerns that were created by relying on Points of Interests in the famous Pokemon GO.
As Art Director for the Microsoft Team Brad Shuber puts it:
The important thing to think about is not only is it a free-to-play Minecraft in AR, it is the full Minecraft experience. We didn’t build a new Minecraft to fit AR. We didn’t reduce it. We didn’t take it away. We didn’t remove features. It is the game you know, the features that you’re used to – the mobs, the landscapes, the redstone – all those things are here for you to use.Brad Shuber, Art Director for the Microsoft Team
MCE will be divided in two main features:
- The map interface (i.e. the real world/geolocation portion) where players will roam the real world completing in-game tasks that will reward them with blocks.
- Free-building mode where players will be able to put those hard earned blocks to use in solo mode or with other players.
Tasks are called Tappables. You could, for instance, see a mining opportunity on the nearby, and upon arrival, you would simply have to tap the screen with your pickaxe to break down the blocks apart. Or you could have to defeat a horde of Skeletons Archers with your bow in order to earn your blocks. There are various types of tasks that players will have to complete. Reports thus far indicate that the game is very intuitive and simple to use, on top of being rather satisfying.
What can you do with those blocks? You can build anywhere in the real world through Augmented Reality with them. While Shuber remained unclear as to whether or not it would be possible for players to reclaim the blocks they used this way without having to return to where they used them, it is quite exciting to think that we’ll be able to build around any actual buildings in the real world! The Eiffel Tower? The Pyramids? The Great Wall of China? Your neighbor’s annoying front yard’s gnomes? Possibilities are endless.
Players can also use their blocks to build through Build Plates with their friends. After scanning a code from your friend’s phone, players will be able to use this flat space for free building, share their builds with their friends.
There are many subtle and quite enjoyable details in the game thanks to Augmented Reality. From the Minecraft clouds in the sky, to the many characters and creatures roaming the world, or this Villager that is about to step on a pressure plate and fall through a hole; every player will find its own fun with MCE.
We are incredibly exciting for this! While games relying on geolocation can be rapidly exhausting for some players, the simple thought of being able to build around the real world is enough for our hype to grow insanely!
You can sign up today for a chance to experience the closed beta that will being soon this summer and to receive your free skin for Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Bedrock.