Today, the producers of the anticipated follow up to Pokémon GO, Niantic Labs and Portkey Games from Warner Bros, opened pre-registration for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (henceforth WU) as well as providing some very exciting details about what the game will contain. More details here. Luckily for you, we were able to get even more details than what they shared with the world. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Disclaimer: Sadly, we were not invited to Niantic’s offices in San Francisco to test the game, but several high-end tech reviewers were, and in this article, we will be compiling all the crispy details that they shared into one single place.
First and foremost, one should know that J. K. Rowling is not involved in this game. Nonetheless, WU features the characters from the movies that we know and love such as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, young and old Dumbledore, Newt Scamander, and more! While they are using alike-voice actors, reviews so far indicate that it feels like the real thing!
The game is expected to be released in 2019 (rumors go as far as saying that it will be in the Spring/Summer of 2019).
What’s the game about?
Let’s keep it brief, the developers have summarized it extremely well. In a post Deathly Hallows world…
A calamity has befallen the wizarding world, causing artifacts, creatures, people, and even memories to mysteriously appear in the Muggle world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to solve the mystery of The Calamity, overcome the confounding chaotic magic that surrounds these “Foundables,” and return them to their rightful place, keeping them safe from Muggle eyes.
Your journey begins as a new recruit of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, established by the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards for the purpose of investigating and containing The Calamity.
Keep in mind that WU is a game that uses Geolocation as its core feature (more details on Geolocation here). Therefore, playing from your couch won’t be the same experience as playing it in the real world while exploring known or unknown areas of your town or new towns!
What is the Calamity? None of the people who tried out the game seems to know. Perhaps this is one of the things we will have to investigate and figure out as recruits!
What you can expect to actually do in the game?
On a map where objects from the real world are reflected (streets, green areas, landmarks, some buildings, etc.) and where brooms and owls fly all over the place, recruits will be tasked to find artifacts, creatures, people, and memories from the wizarding world and to report them to the Ministry of Magic. Thus far, reports indicate that the map is much busier than Pokémon GO’s!
Encounters or Foundables with artifacts, creatures, people or memories open up an AR sequence where you must cast a spell (through the tracing of a specific shape similar to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery). The faster and more accurate you are, the better the quality of the spell.
Recruits will also be able to collect food items to refill your Energy through Inns (the equivalent of PokeStops in Pokémon GO); gather potion ingredients and brew potions at Green Houses, or visit Landmarks for a higher chance at finding particular Foundables. Inns, Green Houses and Landmarks will be found at real world locations (a statue, a store, a special object in a park, etc.).
Some encounters will require you to save Buckbeak from a curse, while others will have you combat a werewolf! For instance, combats will have you cast a Protego spell rapidly to defend yourself.
Encounters will vary in difficulty (called Threat Level in the game) and current reports indicate that the developer team has already over 100 different encounters available! Every encounter falls under a specific category. These categories will provide bonuses the higher your skill in said category is. These are all listed in some sort of a book (Registry), where you slowly complete your collection of wizarding artifacts, creatures, etc.
- Care of Magical Creatures;
- Dark Arts;
- Magical Games and Sports;
- Wonders of the Wizarding World;
- Legends of Hogwarts;
- Ministry of Magic;
- Mysterious Artifacts.
An RPG (Role Playing Game) mobile game – Skills
Unlike Pokémon GO, statistics are not hidden in this game! According to TechCrunch’s hands-on experience, recruits will have to choose among three professions:
- Auror (Stronger with speels and fighting Death Eaters or other Dark Arts wizarding creatures)
- Magizoologist (Support character and stronger against magical creatures)
- Professor (Stronger magical knowledge)
Your skills are presented as a Skill Tree that can certainly (and reportedly) compete with big RPG games! Using tokens received from encounters, increase your stamina to last longer in combats, heal allies, increase a potion’s effectiveness, etc.
One can change profession at any point for free according to GamesRadar, but will lose cumulated skills.
Multiplayer mode through Fortresses
Unlike Pokémon GO when released, WU should already have a multiplayer mode upon release through the use of Fortresses (similar to Gyms in Pokémon GO).
With up to four other recruits (for a total of five players), enter combat in real time against a group of enemies to obtain rare items. To enter these combats, one will be required to use a Runestone (which certainly seems to be the equivalent of a Raid Pass in Pokémon, therefore limiting your ability to enter a Fortress too many times in a day). There will be several floors in each Fortresses, and each floor will increase in difficulty, but will reward better items! At this point, depending on the skills you have increased in Skill Tree, you will have to decide which of the enemies to battle against wisely!
Have you leveled your magical creature taming? You better take on that hippogriff. Do extra damage against human foes? You’re on Death Eater duty. Stocked up on spells that hinder opponents or heal allies? You can use them from the select screen in real time, for instance if your friend is about to be knocked flat by a high-level Dementor and needs a hand.
Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch
According to Devin and many more who have tested the game, WU will allow for some incredible strategy and team synergy (compared to other AR games available, mainly Pokémon GO). The tap tap tap technique has been set aside for what Chris Hall from Pocket-Link calls “loosely turn-based”, thankfully! Worry not, Chris also indicates that the battles are fairly fast pace, unlike many turn-based games.
Of course, more has been shared and can be summarized through a handful of bullet points.
- Weather and locations have been reported as influential factors for encounters;
- Create your own Task Force ID using a “moving picture” (non-public) just like in the Harry Potter universe;
- Choose your House (which has reportedly no effect at this stage);
- Choose your wand;
- Open up famous location (like Ollivander’s Shop or Dumbledore’s Office) using Portkeys;
- Time of day will affect the Foundables you encounter;
- Phases of the moon will also affect the Foundables you encounter;
- and more!
We are incredibly excited about this game, and we hope you are too! These new details about the game mechanics certainly are welcomed and nothing less than what we could have asked for. The game clearly seems to be at a high stage in development, so we are confident that the rumors about a Spring/Summer 2019 release are true.
Furthermore, the graphics clearly seems to be more appealing that those of Pokémon GO.
However, keep in mind that what we are sharing here is strictly a compilation of reports from people who have tested the game and that the actual game could differ from what we shared with you today.
Let’s be honest, the game looks beautiful!
What are your thoughts? Are you as excited as we are? Let us know in the comments below!