Hogsmeade village in Harry Potter theme park

Creators of Pokémon Go to work on AR Harry Potter game

Image credit: Dreamstime

The software development company responsible for hit augmented reality game Pokémon Go has announced that it is planning another AR game, this time based in the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Niantic, which began as an internal start-up within Google, is best known for AR smartphone game Pokémon Go. This became immensely popular during the summer of 2016, quickly breaking five Guinness World Records for popularity and profitability.

While previous AR applications were plentiful – including Niantic’s game, Ingress – Pokémon Go was the first to reach truly widespread success. The Pokémon games are based in a fictional world in which humans and Pokémon (Pocket Monsters) live side by side. Pokémon can be found hiding in grass, bushes, in caves, the ground and other settings.

Pokémon Go encourages users to walk around their surroundings and hunt down Pokémon superimposed onto their real-world environments on their phone's display.

Now John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, has announced that the company will work with Warner Bros on a new AR smartphone game called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Like Pokémon Go, this will add elements of the fictional world to real world locations.

“With Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, players that have been dreaming of becoming real life wizards will finally get the chance to experience JK Rowling’s Wizarding World,” Hanke wrote in a blog post. “Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighbourhoods and cities to discover [and] fight legendary beasts, and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.”

Few details are available about the game, which will launch in 2018. From Hanke’s description, it is likely that the game will be more complex than Pokémon Go, which was criticised for its limited gameplay. Given the immense popularity of both Pokémon Go and the Harry Potter franchise, Wizards Unite is likely to prove a success.

“With this game, we are allowing the passionate, worldwide fan base to explore JK Rowling’s deeply powerful and imaginative universe in a new, truly immersive way,” said David Haddad, president of Warner Bros.

Warner Bros, the entertainment company behind the Harry Potter film franchise, will be releasing a range of mobile and console games set in the fictional world under its new ‘Portkey Games’ sub-brand.

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