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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
The magic is all around you. Tap to learn more.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
The Magic Is All Around You
Itching to visit Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? You could try running through the brick wall at Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross Station, but there’s an easier way.
Created by Pokémon GO developer Niantic and WB Games, the long-awaited Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has finally arrived, and it’s more than just a mobile game set in the wizarding world. It brings the wizarding world into ours, thanks to the magic of cutting-edge, location-based gaming.
“Harry Potter actually happens in our world, very much here on Earth,” says Niantic producer Alex Moffit. “Part of the reason people love the series so much is this paper-thin line between Muggle world and wizarding world. That’s the exact sort of story we’re adeptly suited to tell.”
Set after the events chronicled in the Harry Potter books, Wizards Unite places you in the center of a calamity threatening to expose magic. As a member of the Ministry of Magic’s Statute of Secrecy Task Force, it’s your job to protect magic by gathering Foundables: characters, beasts, artefacts and memories that have escaped into the Muggle world after a mysterious event.
This entails searching for Traces of magic, then casting spells to secure Foundables and return them to their rightful places. You’ll also brew potions, stop by inns to replenish your energy and visit ingredient-rich greenhouses. The better you know your real-world town, the more treasures you’ll find.
“If players need to eat, let’s reward them for thinking, ‘Where would I find butter beer in my neighbourhood?’ Maybe it’s in a commercial district with a bunch of restaurants nearby,” explains Moffit. “Where would I go to find a leaping toadstool? Maybe it’s the park or another green space.”
Even the weather and time of day affects what you might find in your Harry Potter playground. Certain ingredients and creatures are more likely to show up after a good rain or during a full moon (in which case you might want to carry a few extra health potions).
Touching every corner of the wide-ranging Harry Potter mythos – from the books and films to the new Fantastic Beasts franchise – Wizards Unite is a huge leap forward for the AR gaming phenomenon that Pokémon GO kick started. Whether you’re protecting an Acromantula egg from a couple of nosy gnomes or casting Incendio to free a student trapped in a block of ice, you’ll be delighted by the multitude of beautifully animated Foundables.
“We’re using the most advanced version of Niantic’s Augmented Reality Developer Kit under the hood,” Moffit says. “It’s a little different from the cartoonish playfulness of Pokémon GO. I feel like I’m really looking at Buckbeak. Hagrid is actually there in front of me. Players aren’t just there to quickly catch something and stow it in their Pokédex. They’ll want to take a moment and get immersed in it.”
And they’ll want to do so with friends. Collaborative play is deeply ingrained in Wizards Unite. Level up and you’ll unlock three Professions, each with a unique skill tree. But whether you’re a wise Professor or a curious Magizoologist, you’ll need to work with others to take down imposing Fortresses filled with the game’s fiercest beasts and villains.
“This is a franchise about friends coming together, solving problems and saving the world,” says Jonathan Knight, studio head at WB Games. “Yes, Harry is special, but he can’t do it without Ron and Hermione. ‘United’ is even in the title of the game. It’s not about fighting each other. It’s about collaboration.”
Even solving the mystery of the calamity requires some sorcerer socialising.
“The story is told non-linearly; different people are going to get different fragments at different times, so it will hopefully create a sense of community and conversation as players try to suss it out,” Knight says. “Who’s Grim Fawley? Who are the London 5? What do you think is going on?”
There is much more to Wizards Unite, including a deep avatar creation system, special events and innovative Portkeys that literally tear open portals to some of the most iconic locations in the Potterverse, from Ollivander’s Wand Shop to the halls of Hogwarts.
But like all magic, this is best experienced first hand. Choose your House, craft your wand and practise your casts. The wizarding world isn’t going to save itself!