More than one year after the nostalgia-driven AR frenzy that was Pokemon Go, Niantic has announced it’s going to cast an incendio charm on the world with an AR Harry Potter game.
[Update: Though we've yet to hear anything more about Wizards Unite, Portkey Games has announced another Harry Potter mobile game will be coming in 2018. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is an RPG for Android and iOS that will allow players to enter the wizarding world, rather than bring it to them through AR. New activity from Portkey Games has us wondering if more Wizards Unite information will be coming soon.]
Not too much is known about the game at the moment, but Niantic has confirmed that it’s working in partnership with Warner Bros Interactive and WB Games to bring the Harry Potter world to life.
Understandably, there’s a lot of excitement around Wizards Unite. Like Ron at the Hogwarts feasts, we’re gorging ourselves on every bit of information we can get our hands on. To keep you abreast of the latest announcements, we’ve put together this article which will be updated with any breaking news.
We’ve also added our own wishes for what features will appear in the game because we couldn’t really help ourselves. Got some ideas of your own? Don’t hesitate to contact us on Twitter to tell us about them!
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A mobile AR Harry Potter game in the vein of Pokemon Go
- When can I play it? There’s no launch date just yet
- What can I play it on? It’s definitely a mobile game and likely to be Android and iOS compatible just like Pokemon Go
What we know so far
Niantic is involved
In an announcement on its official site, Niantic Labs confirmed that it’s behind Wizards Unite. As a result, the game will make full use of Niantic’s AR platform which we’ve seen in action before in Pokemon Go and Ingress.
Naturally, the game is likely to be heavily inspired by Niantic’s previous releases but in its announcement for the game, the developer promised that it would “pioneer all new technology and gameplay mechanics” too.
It’ll be part of a bigger release pool from the newly established Portkey games
This isn’t, however, a solo project for Niantic. Warner Bros will also be involved and the company has announced that it’s creating an entirely new publishing label called Portkey Games which will also work on the game.
Wizards Unite will be but one of many Harry Potter-related games Portkey Games will be releasing in the coming years. According to a blog post on Pottermore, there will be a collection of console and mobile games set in the wizarding world released and Wizards Unite will be the first of these.
It’s not clear whether all of these games will be standalone titles or whether they’ll all come together to make some kind of mobile and console crossover ecosystem where players are able to live a wizarding life over multiple platforms and games
There will be Ingress and Pokemon Go-inspired gameplay
Well, this is an obvious one since Niantic is involved, but like Pokemon Go this game will encourage you to explore the real world and uncover secrets through the camera of your phone. To keep track of where you are in the world there’s like to be location tracking and a similar map layout.
Cast spells, battle creatures and discover artifacts
We’ve only had some basic hints about what will be possible in the game from Pottermore and Niantic and we don’t actually have any idea about how it’ll be implemented.
Both sides of the development team have, however, confirmed that the game will involve discovering and fighting magical creatures and meeting characters from the Harry Potter universe. We imagine these characters and creatures will be intractable in the similar manner to Pokemon in Pokemon Go.
Players will also be able to be able to learn and cast spells, team up with others to take down powerful enemies, discover mysterious artifacts, and build up a wizarding career.
So that’s what we know, and it seems likely that’s all we’re going to know until 2018 when Pottermore has promised that more information will be announced.
What we want to see
In light of this lack of information, we’ve naturally allowed our minds to wander. There’s a lot we want to see from Wizards Unite. It’s actually worth noting that a game was crowdfunded back in 2015 called Maguss that actually came fairly close to what we would have expected a Harry Potter AR game. As a result, a lot of what we want from Niantic’s venture is inspired by this.
Collect potion ingredients in the real world to make potions in the app
Wandering along woodland trails, around parks and near ponds would make for a great opportunity to collect potion ingredients. Whether you’d have to hold your phone up to see and pick them or you’d simply be able to tap them to collect via an on-screen map
Pokemon Go had the yellow, red and blue teams so it makes sense that Harry Potter AR would make use of the Hogwarts houses. There’s an opportunity for a Pottermore-style quiz here. Taking that one step further, this would be a great way to establish a players’ wand and Patronus form.
It may actually be an interesting approach to allow players to link their Wizards Unite accounts to their Pottermore accounts.
Use a phone like a wand
It’s a Wiimote-style accident waiting to happen but we’d love the option to wave our phones in certain patterns to cast spells.
Purchasable external wand like the Pokemon Go Plus
Okay, this one is perhaps something of a stretch. But if we could have some kind of Bluetooth-connected wand that allowed us to duel with our friends and learn spells without having to have our phones in front of our faces and a battery-draining app open we'd be very happy indeed. We're also willing to bet people would be much more prepared to carry a Harry Potter wand replica on their person than they would be to strap the Pokemon Go Plus to their wrist.
We’re fully expecting a duel system to be involved in Wizards Unite. It’s a great way to get some competitive spirit into the game and dueling clubs would be a great way to emulate the gym system that's currently in Pokemon Go.
How exactly it would work we're not entirely sure but it would make to create designated areas where players can meet locally and take part in duels where they're able to use spells they've either learned through grinding or purchased through inevitable microtransactions.
One of the best things about the Harry Potter universe is that it's embedded in our own and this is something that works incredibly well with AR technology. The ability to hold your phone up to see hidden entrances, or to transform completely ordinary locations into something more magical is an exciting prospect and it'd certainly encourage us to explore our local area.
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