Niantic Games, developer of augmented reality games Pokémon Go and Ingress, officially announced that the long-rumored “Harry Potter Go” is both very real and currently in development. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will serve as the developers’ follow up to Pokémon Go, likely featuring similar real-world location role-playing that has made their previous two games so successful.
Details are limited, but in a recent blog post the developers listed some features players can expect: “Players will learn spells, explore their real-world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.” The blog also listed that Niantic will be teaming up with Warner Bros. San Francisco for the endeavor.
Additionally, the game will release under the Portkey Games brand, a new label launched specifically for J. K. Rowling-related games. There is no known release date, but suffice it to say we will likely see the release of this money machine sooner rather than later.
Our take: This is an idea that simply prints money. If there is a franchise that appeals en masse as much as Harry Potter, I have yet to find it. Pokemon Go’s monumental success could largely be attributed to the fanbase it served, which eventually blossomed so far out of the gaming sphere that it engulfed pop culture as a whole for weeks. Harry Potter may not be at peak popularity, but then neither was Pokémon in summer 2016.
The concepts that fuel Harry Potter can be easily “gameified”, despite the lack of truly remarkable Harry Potter video games (The Sorcerer’s Stone for PS1 was passable then, but certainly not now). Dividing the player base into the four houses of Hogwarts and having them compete, while also learning new spells sounds fun, depending on if the game is more mechanically sound than its predecessor. I could see myself getting pretty into it. I still have fond memories of befriending complete strangers while we all tried to catch a Scyther at a local mall, and I would love to have that experience all over again, even if Harry Potter is significantly less cool than Pokémon.