A few months ago Niantic, the makers of mobile ARG smash-hit Pokemon GO, announced that they were working on a new ARG title. This new game would be set in the Harry Potter universe entitled Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Now, the company’s CEO, John Hanke, has decided to reveal a general time frame as to when Potterheads can play the ARG by stating that it has a release window set for the second half of 2018.
This and other general details were revealed in an interview between John Hanke and Financial Times, with the Niantic CEO assuring fans that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will have a more stable and enjoyable launch later on in 2018 than Pokemon GO, which was plagued by a plethora of issues and bad press at its release in 2016. Hanke said that his company was “much better positioned” for the upcoming Harry Potter ARG and also noted the development team as a whole has learned a lot from the development of their other works.
Hanke also talked about more specific lessons learned from Pokemon GO‘s development, Hanke said, “In terms of dealing with public locations, government policy, regulations, and public reaction to people being out in the real world, we have built up our expertise there.” The CEO then went on to say that Niantic should be able to respond to real world problems at a faster pace with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite than it did during the excitement and confusion surrounding Pokemon GO.
To reiterate how the Harry Potter franchise is properly suited to work with augmented reality technology, Hanke explained that the ARG will use physical locations and a phone’s camera to simulate gameplay in the real world by allowing players to interact with a “magical” realm while still being in their own. It all sounds very similar to Pokemon GO. Hanke said, “The ‘muggle’ world and the wizarding world are only separated by a thin veil. It’s very easy for us to imagine bringing that kind of magic into our everyday lives.”
It will be interesting to see if the Pokemon GO developer will be able to strike gold twice with the creation of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Even though Niantic has learned some lessons with the development of their other games, the company also will have to face the competition of Warner Bros. releasing an ARG for the franchise in 2018 as well. Although it remains to be seen how either game actual work from a gameplay standpoint, so they might be only similar in the source IP being used.
Pokemon GO developer Niantic’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is currently scheduled to launch at some point in the second half of 2018.