While a release date for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has not yet materialized, co-developers Niantic and WB Games have finally released gameplay footage and an in-depth game description to whet the appetites of eager Harry Potter fans.
As expected, the game closely mirrors the location-based gaming aesthetic that Niantic pioneered with Pokémon GO and Ingress, while borrowing elements from imitators like Ghostbusters World, The Walking Dead: Our World, and Jurassic World Alive.
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The premise of the game revolves around The Calamity, a leak of magical characters and items, called Foundables, from the wizarding world into our real world. Aspiring wizards and witches must hunt down these Foundables, which typically hide in public spaces like parks, museums, and libraries, and cast spells to contain them and return them to their realm.
Just as Pokémon GO players need to possess pokeballs to capture pocket monsters, wizards and witches will need to collect spell power, which is replenished via Inns locked to Muggle locations in the real world.
Players can also brew potions by collecting ingredients from Greenhouses. In addition, players can unlock portals into the wizarding world.
The game will also challenge players with magical duels, as players can congregate at Fortresses and team up to fight Death Eaters and Dementors in multiplayer battles (like raids in Pokémon GO). Players will have the opportunity to specialize in various classes, or Professions, so magical combat will take on the feel of role-playing games.
The wait for the location-based game inspired by the uber-popular franchise has been nearly as long as the 19 months between the penultimate and final seasons of Game of Thrones. Niantic and Warner Bros. originally announced the game in November 2017, and later estimated that it would arrive in second half of 2018.
A year after the announcement of the game, Niantic released a trailer for the game instead, pushing the game's launch to 2019. Nevertheless, the company has continued to tease the game with trailer releases.
While this first look further strings along fans who are chomping at the bit to dig their teeth into a virtual version of Harry Potter's magical world, at least the reveal of game footage indicates that a launch is coming soon. Then again, another location-based AR game, Ghostbusters World, put seven months between its first reveal of gameplay footage and the game's release, so don't hold your breath just yet.