The developer behind Pokemon Go is working on a Harry Potter game.
That means, as soon as next year, you should be able to overlay pieces of the popular wizarding world onto your real world, resulting in an immersive experience the most die-hard Potter fans will undoubtedly love. Here's what you need to know about the upcoming title.
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What is Niantic Labs?
Niantic is a San Francisco-based company best known for developing augmented reality-based mobile games. It was initially formed as an internal startup within Google, but it later became an independent firm in 2015. Then, in 2016, through a partnership with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company, Niantic released the popular AR game Pokemon Go, with Niantic serving as the app's developer.
Niantic had tremendous success with Pokemon Go, and as a result, it is working on a new AR title, called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. That's right, Niantic partnered with Warner Bros Interactive in an attempt to hook into Harry Potter's ravenous fan base, just like it did with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company for Pokemon Go. The Harry Potter game is expected to be very similar to Pokemon Go.
What is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an upcoming AR game from Niantic. According to the game's website, Niantic is developing the title with WB Games San Francisco's development team and Warner Bros Interactive's sub-brand Portkey Games. The word "Portkey" is a reference from the wizarding world of Harry Potter. It's an enchanted object that instantly brings anyone touching it to another location.
How will Harry Potter: Wizards Unite work?
It's early days still and details are slim. TechCrunch said Niantic is building the game so that it's similar to Pokémon Go (in that it will draw from the location database originally built up by the Niantic game Ingress). In fact, there will be a "significant influence" from Ingress, which allows players to roam their real world while also collecting power-ups, defending locations, and exploring their environment.
The result? The game might incorporate real-world locations into the in-game experience. You see, in Pokemon Go, there are things called PokeStops. These are landmarks in your real world. They can be as inconsequential as public pools or as important as statues. PokeStops let you collect items, experience, Poke Eggs, and more. It sounds like the Harry Potter game might have something similar.
In announcement for the new Harry Potter game, Niantic mentioned Ingress, which it said "turns real-world streets, neighborhoods, and cities into a global game board". In other words, it confirmed that Ingress has laid the foundation for its real-world AR gaming platform.
Niantic said fans who have been dreaming of becoming "real life wizards will finally get the chance to experience JK Rowling’s Wizarding World". Players will be able to learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods, fight legendary beasts, and team up with others to take down powerful enemies. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will leverage the "full stack of the Niantic Platform", Niantic revealed.
Here's how the upcoming game is described on its website:
"Harry Potter: Wizards Unite uses state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to reveal the magic all around us. Explore real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!"
Also, yes, we're guessing you'll have to choose a house...
When can you play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?
According to TechCrunch, the title is set to launch sometime in 2018.