“Ingress” fans won’t be seeing Niantic’s first augmented reality game the same way again next year, and it’s because a massive overhaul is set to happen in 2018. The changes will not only cover the look and user interface of the game, but also the story and even the underlying technology that powers it.

Over the weekend, Niantic revealed that it is preparing a new update for “Ingress.” The update is going to bring significant changes to the AR mobile game, and it is even changing the name of the game to “Ingress Prime.” The developer teased that the massive overhaul is arriving next year, and it will alter every aspect of the game down to its DNA. What this means is players can expect new art, design, narrative and even technology, as pointed out by The Verge.

According to Niantic CEO John Hanke, the major update is going to take cues from the things they did to their biggest game yet, “Pokemon Go.” “This game was the place where we figured out all of the things that we later applied to ‘Pokemon Go,’ and will be drawing from for other projects that we do in the future,” Hanke said. “We really look at it as our spiritual core.”

When it comes to the technical side of the revamp, Niantic is moving away from the platform it used when it created “Ingress.” The developer will instead rely on slicker augmented reality frameworks like Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The change does not only mean taking advantage of the more advanced features of the new technologies, but also a more secure environment against cheaters. Niantic says it will make use of the improved tools of the new mobile technologies so it could detect cheaters easily.

Story-wise, Engadget reports that the core plot will remain intact. However, it will unfold in a different manner. Plus, the expanded narrative will include an anime series, so that’s something to look forward to. Hanke said, “Short of doing a $200 million motion picture, anime is a great way to introduce a world like Ingress, because you can really pull people into a world that goes beyond the everyday.”

As for the user interface of the game, Niantic is preparing a new look for “Ingress Prime.” Fans should expect a more streamlined interface and very different visuals compared to the ones they are seeing now. “It was a very spartan crew that did the first version of ‘Ingress,’” Hanke said. “I guess it’s part of the charm of the game, that it’s a very spartan UI and players have grown to love that. But we’re really happy to be able to bring in some really talented artists and designers into the project, and really just give people a modern, beautiful version of the game.”

“Ingress Prime” doesn’t have a specific release date yet, but it is expected to arrive sometime next year. By the looks of things, Niantic will have a busy year in 2018. For one thing, it is also planning on launching its third AR title, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unit,” next year. The Harry Potter-inspired game is being developed alongside Warner Bros. and the latter’s new Potter-themed brand Portkey Games.

Niantic told Eurogamer in August that in “Harry Potter: Wizards Unit,” players will learn how to cast spells, explore the real world through an AR lens that will help them locate and fight legendary beasts, and team up with their friends and other players to take down powerful enemies.

Ingress Niantic is giving “Ingress” a complete makeover next year. Photo: Ingress Twitter