Niantic is working on a Harry Potter-themed augmented reality game.
The game, known as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, is set to follow up from the studio’s massively successful Pokemon Go from last year as well as Ingress.
Here’s everything you need to know:
1. A Harry Potter Game By Niantic Was Rumored to Exist Last Year, But Those Rumors Were Fake News
TechCrunch broke the news about the game. The publication reported that rumors that Niantic was creating a Harry Potter game date back to last year. However, the rumors were quickly debunked.
Gizmodo reports that an article on JTHX News reportedly cited an interview with Niantic Senior Developer Marcus Figueroa with IGN where he states that they acquired the rights for the app and also promised a quest system for the game, large scale interactive events, and having schools of witchcraft and wizardry act similar to Pokestops in Pokemon Go. However, the interview doesn’t actually exist and there’s nobody named Marcus Figueroa working with Niantic. The article was completely fake.
2. Details So Far Are Scarce on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, But the Game Is Official
Details on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite are scares but TechCrunch does report that the title is set to launch sometime in 2018 for mobile devices. They reported that the game will draw “significant influence” from Ingress according to the publication, with them expecting people to roam the world collecting power-ups and defending locations with some sort of augmented reality component.
An official website has been created for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, officially confirming its existence. The game is being developed by Niantic and WB Games San Francisco. The website also confirms the use of augmented reality in the game. Here’s what the website has to say about the game:
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!
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is releasing the game under their new label for Harry Potter mobile and console games known as Portkey Games, according to the official Harry Potter website Pottermore.
Harry Potter fans will recall that a Portkey is an item in the Harry Potter universe that allows one to instantly travel to a specific location just by touching the object.
3. Thought the Original Story Has Ended, Harry Potter Is Still as Popular as Ever
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, as the first novel released in the UK on June 26, 1997. It also makes the 10th anniversary of the last book in the series, which released on July 21, 2007.
Love for the franchise is still high, with Potter fans all over the world celebrating September 1, 2017 as the day Harry Potter’s sons as well as Ron and Hermione’s daughter went on the Hogwarts Express for their first day of school at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Time estimated the brand’s worth as $25 billion in April 2016, making it the third highest grossing media franchise in history just under Star Wars and Pokemon. Time also estimated the film series to be at $7.7 billion with Fantastic Beasts adding another $800 million for a total of $8.5 billion, making it the second highest grossing franchise in film just under the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rowling has been named the world’s richest author with a net worth of $1 billion according to Time.
That’s not bad for a story that originally couldn’t find a publisher. The Guardian reports that Harry Potter was rejected by the first literary agent Author J.K. Rowling contacted before being picked up by Christopher Little. Little then sent it to 12 different publishers before it ended up with Bloomsbury.
4. This Is Hot Off the Heels of Niantic’s Success with Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go was released in July 2016 where it was greeted with a monstrous success rivaling that of the original Pokemon craze of the late 90s. Variety reports that the game was downloaded more than 750 million times in its first year. Forbes reported that the game bought in $180 million in profit to Nintendo as of April 2017 despite them sharing the game with The Pokemon Company and Niantic.
Pokemon Go recently changed its Raid Boss list. In addition, Raid Timers are now set to 45 minutes. Player have already posted proof that they are receiving the new Raid Bosses, which include many Pokemon from generation one as well as one appearing from the recently introduced generation three.
5. Pokemon Go May Become a 20 Year Franchise
Niantic CEO John Hanke said that Pokemon Go has the potential to become a “20 year franchise,” according to Variety.
Niantic plans on launching the game on augmented reality glasses as well as possibly launching on Magic Leap’s upcoming mixed reality headset.
Variety reports that Niantic was originally incubated within Google before they spun off from the company in 2015 with investments from Google, the Pokemon Company, and Nintendo.