Proving Ground: Pre-beta Information
This is a timeline of images and information presented to us prior to the Endgame (Proving Ground) closed beta opening to the public. Nothing here is 100% fact and most is speculative at this moment. That being said, this is likely the most complete source of pre-beta information.
If you have some information to add that we have missed or presented inaccurately, please leave a comment with as much detail as you can.
Ingress announces Endgame, stating it will be complimenting a series of books by James Frey with a “… mobile augmented reality game that will bring ENDGAME to life in the real world.”
John Hanke mentions that “…we think this idea of real world games is viable” while flashing this image at the 2014 D.I.C.E Summit. This is our first glimpse at the Endgame interface, though most had originally over looked it thinking it was just concept art.
A media kit was released for sites like The Verge, giving more coverage to the Endgame project. There was little mention of the app itself, but the image below was shared in the article. Notice the same buildings as shown in the D.I.C.E teaser image? The major difference here being what look like coins representing some of the ancient lines from the book / ARG.
This image shared at the 2014 D.I.C.E summit was further validated when Endgame Polska on Facebook shared three new images. There is that city block again, familiar buildings and all. Though now we see what appear to be red holographic pillars and buildings with the label “ANCIENT SITES”.
In another one of the images, we see new variations of the ancient lines logos. In columns to the right of each logo are various symbols unique to each line. As far as we know, these are unidentified at this time.
In the last image we are presented with Stonehenge (which might excite those who had read The Calling). In the lower right, we also read “66% AMPLIFIED”.
Endgame also had a panel at San Diego Conic-Con 2014. Between John Hanke and James Frey talking about the game during the presentation and questions during the Q&A, many aspects of the game were revealed. Prior to this, we really had no real idea of what the app version of Endgame would entail outside of being a location based game.
“… will be released on iOS and Android.”
It was mentioned the game will be on iOS and Android. We do not know if they are building both at the same time, or if it’ll be for Android first and iOS down the road. Regardless, it was confirmed it will be on both platforms.
“You will get to be one of the characters in the book… You’re a warrior, you’re training to compete.”
Prior to this, it was undetermined if you will play as someone from a line, one of the actual Players from Endgame, or some sort of impartial side character. This makes it sound like we can all be Chiyoko’s and fight for the Mu. The mention of “training” also point to in-game milestones, such as a leveling system.
“You’ll walk around and see other players on a map, and if you are close enough to them (just like in Endgame when the Players are close enough to each other, they fight each other) you fight other people.”
“… all about competition, and fighting, and duels with others players… And you will do those solo but also within groups.”
So the game is all about duels. They mention fighting and duels with other players separately, so it is safe to say there will be NPC characters that you can fight (likely for leveling), as well as player vs player. These fights also will be proximity based (of course, GPS game!). They also mention solo and group play, but we’ll talk more about group play below.
“You will have to visit places in the real world to collect items and skills that you can use in these duels.”
Like Ingress, you will need to visit locations to collect items. Ok, on-board with that concept, we do it every day in Ingress via hacking portals. What is interesting though is the mention of collecting skills. Unlike Ingress, it sounds like you can diversify yourself outside levels and items.
Back to items, in a slide show during the presentation, we see an “Olmec dagger”. As far as we know, this is the first image where a weapon is shown in-game.
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art has the greatest collection of Sumerian weapons on earth. So if you go to the “Met” and stand in front of the Sumerian weapons they become a part of your arsenal in the game.”
See it, own it. This is a pretty amazing concept that might further add to the immersive aspects of the game.
“The key sites in the game have been crowd sourced through Ingress… So these exist even in small towns. Things like historical markers, museums, libraries, even a library in a small town. Those are key sites in the mobile game of Endgame. So you can just go to the library and that’s a place you can acquire objects. Now there will be some really really special sites (like the “Met”) where there may be very rare objects that are only available at those locations…”
The question came up asking about folks who are location bound and can’t visit places like The Metropolitan Museum of Art with ease or at all. Hanke mentions that because of location data glimpsed by Ingress, the game and places to play the game will be available world wide, even in the smallest towns. However… Going to special locations like The Metropolitan Museum of Art may net you VERY RARE objects. As to if obtaining objects like these will be game breaking or not has been undetermined, but the vibe we get is that most items can be obtained regardless of where you are at, and that very rare objects/items will only give a minor edge.
“There are going to be opportunities in the game where you can have a clan essentially, where you could ban together with 8 or 10 or 500 people and do battles with other groups of people, or gang up on people… Do whatever you want. The game is going to encourage socialization and group game play”
Even though you can play solo and be a lone wolf, it sounds like you can have a clan/guild with other players. Be this temporary party or a established organization is undetermined.
“So image if you’re sitting in a restaurant and your phone gets pinged saying someones attacking you. You will have to deal with that”
Like Ingress, things appear to be in real time. Will you be vulnerable to attacks at all times? Or only while in the game itself?
Endgame The Calling – Official Trailer 2014 is released on YouTube. Though this is trailer for the movie, they give us the first video footage of the app to make it’s way to the public. This video visits the same ancient site we keep seeing, along those familiar red holographic structures as well. This is also the first time we get to see a duel initiated between two players.
A gun hilt is teased showing us a training weapon (suggested by the image title “mu_train_weap5”). Unsure if this is concept or in-game art.
Another in-game weapon is revealed in a media kit, shown on sites like Venture Beat. As far as we know, this is the first in-game weapon image that has been shared via wide spread media. This weapon was teased 10 days prior to the media kit release in the Ancient Societies post, Swirl.
The training gun teased in December 2014 now shared in full.
A new training weapon is reviled via Ancient Societies. This time an axe / tomahawk.
First training weapon reveal of the month, being a Semi-Auto gun.
Second training weapon reveal of the month, a short sword / blade.
Third training weapon reveal of the month, a rifle.
Forth training weapon reveal of the month, a recurve bow.
Later the same day as the recurve bow release, the LIVE: From Las Vegas – Ancient Societies event took place. No new images were shared, but a tiny bit of new information was given, further validating some concepts shared last year.
“…Fight over our version of portals, which will be called key spots”
You know those red holographic builds / structures we’ve seen various times in teaser images in 2014? We can finally put a term to them: Key spots. This term was also offhandedly mentioned in the Comic-con 2014 panel as well, but overlooked.
“You’ll be able to collect weapons, you’ll be able to collect armor, you’ll be able to build up strength, and you’ll be able to fight each other”
We have known for some time about weapons, but the new mentioned here is armor and strength. Now, the term strength can be used very loosely and could mean levels, or skills… Which has already been mentioned. What is new here is the mention or armor, which we have not heard of or seen at this point.
“John Hanke, Nils, and I (Frey) will be in the game called Keplers, and we will have god buttons…”
Though this was said in a joking manner during the event, it might be safe to say that GMs (game masters) in Endgame will be titled Keplers.
New month, new weapon reveals! First training weapon reveal of the month, a shield? A disk? We’re not really sure to be honest
Second training weapon reveal of the month, a shuriken.
Geek Wire released an article after an interview with Niantic Labs which finally gives the game an official name, shows player characters for the first time, shows a new in-game weapon, and gives some new information about the game itself.
Leading up to this point, all we knew the game by was “Endgame” or “Endgame mobile app by Niantic Labs”. Finally, we can give it a proper name, Proving Ground.
We see several variations of a few player characters, showing that either armor will alter your looks, or that there will be vanity clothing items as well.
We are also given some validation on a a few terms:
- Key sites: The “portals” or locations you will defend in Proving Ground.
- Tokens: Remember the image below from one of the 2014 media kits? We had originally guessed at calling these “coins”, but this article finally puts an official name to them, Tokens. It is also mentioned that players can place these on sites when slots are available, defining that there is a finite amount of tokens that can be placed. Something we didn’t mention at first sight of this image in 2014 was that there is a number 5 next to the stack of blue tokens.
A new training weapon is also shown, making this the second pistol we’ve seen.
“Combat doesn’t require both players to be present at one of the sites – the defender will get a notification on their phone, and if they’re not available, the game will get one of their teammates to step up and fight or fall back to an AI in the event nobody is free to battle. The game is designed to offer support for a variety of playstyles, and the amount of combat someone runs into will be based on how they play.”
Some new information on defense and combat of key sites you or your team may own. If you’re not free to fight, one of your teammates are asked to fight. If you and your teammates are not free to fight, an AI is used to fight instead. This new information provides some very interesting dynamics to the game! In Ingress, if you and your team mates all go to sleep, and your opponents come after, you will not be able defend the portals you own. In Proving Ground, your last line of defense is an AI, likely shadowing your level, skills, weapon, and armor.
“People who complete challenges in the alternate reality game will get bonuses in the mobile game when it launches. Top players will even get early access to the ‘Proving Ground’ invite-only beta.”
Now this is very interesting news… We’ve known for some time that participating in the Ancient Societies ARG would net you early access to the Proving Ground beta. However, this suggests that they will also be given “bonuses” in Proving Ground when it launches. Going off award systems other video games, this could mean a gear kit when starting, exclusive items which can only be obtained via participation in the ARG, in-game currency, or stat/level boosts. Only time will tell on this front, but if you want a chance at in-game perks, you can start participating in the ARG today.
The same day as the Geek Wire post, Wired UK also made a post after an interview with Anne Beuttenmueller of Niantic Labs. This post shows us more player character designs, more weapons, a new item type: trinkets, as well as some additional information about the game.
Here we see more player character designs and outfits. Something we noticed here after overlooking it in the Geek Wire player image is that it appears that each line will offer either female or male sexes. This disproves the previous notion that you will be playing as one of the characters from the book, which would lock you to a specific sex.
Two new training weapons were presented, another pistol and sword.
A new item class is announced: Trinkets! A ring (Horned Bull Artifact) and a necklace (Shiva bomb). First weapons, then armor, now trinkets… This is starting to feel like a Diablo game! We can only guess that these trinkets give some sort of stat boosts or special skills when wore.
“To help you coordinate with other players from your line, there’s an in-game chat feature that is built directly into the mobile game and will allow teams to plan missions.”
Not a surprising feature announcement, but one none the less. This is the first mention of in-game chat, and it sounds like it will be similar to Ingress in that it’ll have a secure chat for chatting with your line / teams. It can only be assumed that there will be an All Chat as well.
“Also new to Endgame is an in-game buying system, which will let people purchase weapons. “We don’t want to have a pay-to-win situation, so you also get them when you go to key spots and find them…”
Before we say anything on the quote above, let us rewind to last year. Connor Tumbleson’s Ingress APK down articles [1.43 / 1.65] point out that Google Wallet and features surrounding micro transactions were added to the framework. Fev Games approached Niantic Labs, fearful of what this meant for the game we had been playing “free” for years. Niantic Labs assured us that Ingress would never see micro transactions in-game. It was also explained that the framework Ingress was build upon would be used for other games (even by other developers eventually), so adding these features were necessary.
The “other games” Niantic had mentioned appear to include Proving Ground, the first to leverage the framework features of micro transactions we unearthed last year via Ingress. Now, whenever we hear the phrase “micro transactions”, we are fearful of pay-to-win situations that have killed many games with good potential. Though you may be able to buy a weapon, armor, etc in Proving Ground, you can also get them from key spots. This makes us believe that we’ll see a pay system as in games like League of Legends. You can naturally earn in-game currency to obtain any character in the game. However, if you want special character skins, altering the way your character looks, you can pay real money. See all those players model characters above? It might be safe to say the “coolest” outfits will cost you real money.
A payment system would also leverage the needed items to progress in the game vs players grinding for them at key spots for hours. As they say, “time is money”, and if I can spend $5 on a sword I’ve been eying vs spending 10 hours of game play to find it… I may elect to buy the sword early to further my players progression more swiftly. This would also benefit casual players who don’t have the time to grind for items like a hard core player could.
And if we couldn’t pack more information into this day, here is the sixth training weapon reveal of the month. A shotgun perhaps?
Here is the seventh training weapon reveal of the month, a bottle of poison. This certainly is an interesting weapon as most the weapons prior were either blades or projectile based. This add a deeper layer to the idea of weapons, as poison might not be something you wield, but maybe something you apply to another weapon or ammo.
(Thanks for the heads up Jay Howard, forgot it was Monday!)
During the end announcements of the Shonin Ingress anomaly, Stella showed us a peek of what the game play looked like.