Regular VRFocus readers should be well versed about augmented reality (AR) developer Niantic Labs by now. The studio behind the massively popular – but not always stable – Pokemon GO videogame announced in November that it was developing a new AR experience based on the worldwide phenomenon Harry Potter, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. While a 2018 release window was given at the time, the studio has now reduced that somewhat revealing that it plans on shipping the title during the latter half of 2018.
Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke revealed as much during an interview with The Financial Times (paywalled), explaining a little more about the title: “The wizarding world of Harry Potter takes places in a familiar world”, said Hanke. “It would be much more difficult to create a convincing Star Wars game in augmented reality”.
That maybe so, yet many gamers – especially those early Pokemon GO players or the ones that went to the disastrous Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago – will need to be convinced that Niantic Labs has learnt lessons from the past before Harry: Potter: Wizards Unite comes to market.
Supposedly that is the case with Hanke saying the knowledge gained from Pokemon GO will be transferred to the new Harry Potter videogame: “In terms of dealing with public locations, government policy, regulations and public reaction to people being out in the real world, we have built up our expertise there.”
Currently Niantic Labs has yet to unveil any concrete details on how Harry: Potter: Wizards Unite will operate. What has been mentioned is that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be more akin the the studios first AR experience Ingress, where players had to tap into various sources of power, defending various locations and discovering new things about the environment.
Harry: Potter: Wizards Unite won’t be the only new title from Niantic Labs in 2018 the studio is working on Ingress followup Ingress Prime. The sequel will feature a completely redesigned user interface and sound design as players battle between the Enlightened and Resistance factions.
Both Ingress Prime and Harry: Potter: Wizards Unite will launch in 2018. When the release dates are confirmed VRFocus will let you know.