Niantic’s next augmented reality phenomenon is still shrouded in mystery.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is coming to an Android phone near you eventually. We know that it’s currently under development by Niantic and Portkey Games, so it’s going to be both an augmented reality game that remains faithful to J.K. Rowling’s source material and, most importantly, the Warner Bros. film franchise.
The latest Wizards Unite news
January 8, 2018 — Latest teaser drops a few more clues
While Niantic is still swearing to secrecy when it comes to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the latest trailer drops some hints about what we can expect once the game launches. Previously, we learned that players will be entering the Muggle world to investigate traces of strange and potentially dangerous magical activity.
In the latest teaser, we see that a number of Nimbus 2000 brooms are flying around the world unmanned. It’s not clear if the brooms are being controlled by someone or acting on their own accord, but what we do know is that they seem to leave traces of magic behind them. Knowing Niantic, players could be tasked with finding those traces to capture and file records about these strange happenings for the ongoing investigation being carried out by the Statute of Secrecy.
While Nimbus 2000 brooms were the subject of this trailer, the fact that this phenomenon was filed away as an individual event suggests other things in the Harry Potter universe could be featured. The previous teaser for the game showed a wizard capturing a golden snitch, after all, and with tons of mystical beasts, magical objects, and other things you’d only find in the world of wizardry, the sky is the limit on what you might find in your time playing the game.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is scheduled to arrive later this year, so expect more details to start flowing out as Niantic closes in on a release date.
November 14, 2018 — Harry Potter: Wizards Unite teaser trailer confirms delay until 2019
The official Harry Potter: Wizards Unite YouTube channel uploaded a new teaser trailer for the upcoming mobile game, and while it gives us an exciting glimpse of things to come, it also confirms that it’s being delayed until some point in 2019.
In the teaser, we see a golden snitch flying around what appears to be the Muggle world. A wizard appears out of nowhere, grabs the snitch, and then slaps a poster on a while saying "The Wizarding World is at risk of exposure. We need your help. Wizards Unite." All of this is shown through the eyes of a security camera of some sort.
The description for the video provides a bit more detail, saying:
Why are traces of magic appearing in the Muggle world? Enlist immediately to help uphold the Statute of Secrecy and protect the wizarding world!
It’s unclear when in 2019 Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be released, but hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later.
All the big details
What do we know about the game so far?
To be honest, not much is currently know about Wizards Unite at this point, beyond the official website where you can sign up to be among the first to know the latest news and updates on the game’s release. Even there, not much info is given about the game itself beyond the following paragraph:
"Harry Potter: Wizards Unite uses state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to reveal the magic all around us. Explore real-world neighborhoods and cities to discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!"
The game is being developed in a partnership between Niantic (Ingress, Pokemon GO) and Portkey Games, a new gaming studio created by Warner Bros. tasked with creating mobile games based in the Harry Potter universe.
Portkey Games has already had a hand in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, which is a more traditional RPG co-developed with TinyCo set in the familiar halls of Hogwarts, and while we might be able to glean some info about the overall look and feel of how a Harry Potter game would look on mobile, Hogwarts Mystery and Wizards Unite will be vastly different experiences (apart from the inevitable in-app purchases).
The developers are working with a massive fictional world that’s been fleshed out with tons of history, characters, and legendary beasts.
For starters, with Wizards Unite being an AR-style game developed in the tradition of Ingress and Pokemon GO, we can expect the game to require players to travel around to real-life locations in our Muggle world to unlock and interact with the Wizarding world through our phones.
At this point, we’re only left to speculate what an augmented reality game based on the Harry Potter universe could look like. Whereas Ingress created its own alien backstory and the core Pokemon experience was a natural fit for an AR game, it isn’t immediately clear how AR would fit into a Harry Potter game — but there’s reason to be excited. The developers are working with a massive fictional world that’s been fleshed out with tons of history, characters, and legendary beasts.
At launch I think it’s safe to expect something pretty standard where you’re exploring locations, collecting items, and building up your wizard stats in whatever form that takes. But what has me most excited about Wizards Unite is the all the potential awesomeness that could be explored from within the Harry Potter universe and the places where the Potter phenomenon has crossed over into our world. Will it centralize around life at Hogwarts, or explore other aspects of the Wizarding world?
it will be interesting to see how real-life locations such as platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross and other iconic film locations around the UK — not to mention the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios — might come into play. I could also daydream for hours about playing some form of Quidditch in AR, or at the very least getting an in-game bonus for attending a Quidditch tournament.
Like I said, there’s a wealth of material for Niantic and Portkey to draw upon so we can’t wait to see which direction they take this game.
When is the game coming out?
On November 14, Niantic released a teaser trailer for the game saying that it’ll be released in 2019.
We were initially expecting a launch at some point in 2018, so this delay is a bit of a bummer. There’s no word when in 2019 we can look forward to the title, but we’ll update this post as soon as we know more.
Are you excited for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?
Let us know in the comments and let us know what you’d love to see in an augmented reality game set in Harry Potter’s magical world.
Updated January 2018: Added more details from the latest Harry Potter: Wizards Unite trailer.
January 8, 2019 at 07:32AM