Niantic rolls out 2019 ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ teaser

‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ is expected on Android and iOS in 2019. — Picture courtesy of Niantic Labs
‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ is expected on Android and iOS in 2019. — Picture courtesy of Niantic Labs

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 16 — A 30-second concept teases what might await players of 2019 mobile release Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, developed in conjunction with Niantic, the studio behind another augmented reality, location-based community quest initiative Pokémon Go.

Casting the right spells to stop wizardly contraptions and traces of magical presence from coming to the notice of the general population — that seems to be what Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is all about.

“The Ministry is looking for witches and wizards willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to save the wizarding world from the Calamity,” the mobile game’s official website reads.

“As a member of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force (a new task force formed in partnership between the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards) you will hone lightning fast wand reflexes, an ability to sniff out the faintest whiff of magical disorder from afar, and proficiency in advanced casting of multiple spells.”

The game’s teaser releases just as Harry Potter movie prequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald begins a worldwide rollout.

It has invited comments that point out the irony of a player, charged with keeping the Wizarding World a secret from the rest of the human populace, then casting spells and magically plastering up a “We Need Your Help” poster under the watchful eye of a security camera.

At the same time, the poster-slinging action may indicate how Wizards Unite intends to interpret core features of Pokémon Go.

Niantic’s 2016 smash hit had players using mobile phone GPS systems to track, capture and then train imaginary creatures from the Pokémon franchise, with static PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms becoming virtual points of interest — and often placed at geographic, cultural, or commercial points of interest.

Pokémon Go likewise owed many of its features to the Google startup’s first game, Ingress.

Niantic is working with Harry Potter movie franchise distributor Warner Bros and the entertainment group’s new, dedicated Harry Potter video games unit Portkey Games.

Portkey has already released Android and iOS Harry Potter school sim Hogwarts Mystery earlier in 2018.

The new game’s official website, harrypotterwizardsunite.com, is currently inviting visitors to join an email list for updates on Wizards Unite and, optionally, other WB Games and WB Entertainment products according to data gleaned about interests, interactions, and devices. — AFP-Relaxnews

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