Niantic Labs is looking to follow up its massive augmented reality game Pokemon Go with a new AR game set within the Harry Potter universe. There had been rumors last July that Niantic was developing a Harry Potter game similar to Pokemon Go, after a Niantic developer revealed in an interview that the company had acquired the rights to the Harry Potter franchise, although that originating article was yanked. Now this augmented reality game is really happening, slated for release sometime in 2018, although details are still quite scant at this time.
The game will be called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which will be co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and their new sub-division dubbed Portkey Games. The game is said to have significant influence from the Niantic game dubbed Ingress, which allows players to explore real-world environments while collecting power-ups and defending locations. The original location database for Ingress was used for Pokemon Go and expanded upon greatly, so it's possible that this database could be expanded even further with this game set within the Harry Potter franchise.
Like Pokemon Go, this Harry Potter game could use real-world locations that would be incorporated into the gaming experience. This game would also most likely enable fans to "cast magical spells" of their choosing in the game, which could prove to be a big draw for Harry Potter fans. Still, no official details about the AR game have been released, and it isn't known if it will potentially tie into the theatrical release of the Harry Potter spin-off sequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, which is set to hit theaters on November 16, 2018. Hopefully we'll have a more detailed announcement from Niantic and Warner Bros. soon, now that the cat is seemingly out of the bag.
It remains to be seen if Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had any sort of involvement or input in this AR game, although it wouldn't be surprising if she was involved in some way during the development process. Along with writing all of the Harry Potter books, she has also been heavily involved in the movie adaptations, theme parks and, most recently, the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She also submits new stories regularly to the Pottermore website devoted to the sprawling franchise she created.
We'll also have to wait for an official announcement to see if this augmented reality game will showcase, or include references to any existing Harry Potter characters and/or creatures. With all of the new creatures that surfaced in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it seems possible that some of these creatures could be included, but we'll hae to wait until an official announcement is made to find out for sure. Tech Crunch broke the news today, and hopefully we won't have to wait too long for an official announcement from Warner Bros. and Niantic.