Niantic’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is coming “very soon” assured the company’s CEO and founder John Hanke.
Hanke’s comments arrive as he attended a 5G event with British mobile network EE this week, in an exclusive partnership for the launch of the mobile augmented reality game in the UK.
The title will feature characters from both the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movie franchises. Gamers will take on the role of a Statute of Secrecy Task Force member and will be tasked with keeping the wizarding world safe by investigating and containing “The Calamity”, a mysterious event that has been causing various magical artefacts, creatures, and people to 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,” Niantic described in a blog post.
“Players will learn spells, explore their real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover, fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.”
Instead of throwing Pokeballs like in Pokémon Go — the ever-popular title that put Niantic on the map — gamers will cast spells.
Hundreds of Harry Potter fans gathered at Changi Airport on Friday (Nov 16) for A Wizarding World Holiday.
It is the first such Harry Potter-themed event held outside the Universal Studios theme parks, as well as the first in an airport.
More than 200 people caught the light and snow show that launched the Potter event at T3, and some 50 eager fans waited in line to get into a recreation of Diagon Alley before it opened at 3.30pm.
Some people even turned up in Potter-inspired costumes, such as school robes from the series, to receive mystery gifts at the event’s launch.
Besides Diagon Alley, other familiar locations and staples from the Potter series, such as the Hogwarts Express train and Hogsmeade Village, are recreated across four parts of Changi Airport from T1 to T3, offering many photo opportunities for visitors.
In the Diagon Alley set-up, visitors can try on wizard robes, give “spell-casting” a shot and toss Quaffle balls used in the fictional sport of Quidditch in the Potter universe.
The decorations and activities will be on at Changi Airport till mid-February next year.
Fans also thronged a pop-up store at T3 which was set up to sell Potter-themed products, such as tote bags, figurines, cushion covers, Lego sets and more.
There will also be raids similarly to Pokémon Go, and teamwork is required to take on monsters and dark forces from the mythical world crafted by Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling.
Niantic had previously reassured fans of Pokémon Go that the game won’t be affected by the new Harry Potter-themed game.
The company explained: “We […] want to say that we are 100% committed to creating an ever-changing and growing game that gets our players exploring, meeting each other, and deepening their connection to the Pokemon universe.
Looking forward to its release later this year, the firm explained: “With Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, players that have been dreaming of becoming real-life Wizards will finally get the chance to experience J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.”
The open beta version of the game went live in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month, and the reception has been pretty mixed.
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