The Game,is a joint action by WB Games San Francisco and Niantic under the label Portkey Games. The game is now available in the US for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and will arrive in the UK on Friday, June 21, and soon thereafter in international territories.
In the spring, the magical AR mobile game was far enough In the development, Niantic invited a handful of journalists into its offices to get an update and then play a pre-release version. After a short run, Niantic provided the game for beta testing in New Zealand and Australia.
Walking over the San Francisco waterfront on a rainy morning, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this experience with Potter-meets-Pokemon-Go.
What is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?
I go to my bus after a day in the office and keep my mind above me. Instead of avoiding traffic or the guy trying to get me to sign a petition, I'm looking for some magical animals from the world of Harry Potter. Duping dark wizards and overpowering magic beasts is a difficult task, but it is part of the daily job of protecting the Muggle world from unexpected misfortune. And everything happens on my phone.
An unsolved catastrophe scatters magical items in the Muggle world.
It is unclear who is responsible and how long the magical artifacts remain hidden from muggles.
As part of the "Secrecy Statement" task force, you must search for magical traces of misfortune and put together clues to determine the cause. If you encounter evidence, place it in a directory of your discoveries about the anomalies.
The game builds on the Harry Potter books and movies and the twomovies to create a captivating and familiar wizarding world on your phone.
As a fan of the Potter franchise, I could not wait to enter the magical universe to cast spells, encounter beasts, and face dark wizards.
What are the basics of the game?
Wizard's Unite uses the same underlying technology to create the map, the Points of Interest and the AR environment as the other games of Niantic – Ingress and Pokemon Go. If you used the map in these other games to navigate to a portal or gym, and if you found a glyph or threw a pokeball, you have a head start here. But as familiar as the game feels, it is clear that I did not feel like playing a Pokemon Go with a new skin color. Instead, I was in a new and strange world.
Part of the new experience comes from several tricks not found in Ingress or Pokemon Go that enhance the shared multiplayer AR environments. (You can have a look at this Niantic video.) And unlike Pokemon Go, you're armed with spells in Wizard's Unite. To cast a spell, follow a magic tip with your finger on the screen of your phone. Screen moves are no different than the glyphs you track in Ingress.
How do I start?
To get started, create your wizard avatar. Use your phone's camera to take a picture of yourself. You can then equip it with witch and wizard costume.
While cooperative play is a major part of the game, your avatar is not automatically shared with others and stored only on your device. (The game will also include parental controls that allow adults to manage children's accounts.)
Use the game to select your Hogwarts house and pick your wand. But do not worry about your choices: you can always change houses and wands. If you'd rather be put in a house rather than opting for one, visit Harry Potter's official website and get sorted by the Sorting Hat.
You also choose a profession – an Auror, a Magician, or a Professor – who each have job-specific skills and abilities to upgrade to. As with houses and bars, you are not tied to your profession.
How do I play?
On your playing card, you'll see magical buildings, supplies on the ground, and glowing magical tracks that signify someone or something displaced by what the game calls misfortune. Buildings include inns where you collect wizarding food that spells energy, and greenhouses where you collect ingredients for making potions. The card also includes materials for making potions, including items that are unique to certain biomes and weather conditions.
In addition to inns and greenhouses you will also find fortresses on the map. Similar to a gym in Pokemon Go, you can team up with up to four other players in a fortress to drive away magical creatures and Death Eaters. They fight in real time with the other players in a common arena. After defeating one enemy, you can move on to another until the fortress is cleared.
But the main attractions are the magical tracks that you discover on the map. "Magic always leaves its mark, sometimes very clear traces," said Professor Albus Dumbledore to Harry. It's true in the books and movies, and it's true in the game.
The magical traces are objects that the unexplained misfortune has displaced from somewhere else in the wizarding world in the past or present. Each trace points to two elements: a Foundable and a Confoundable.
For example, tap on a track and you can uncover Harry Potter – a founder – who is being attacked by a Dementor, a Confuser. A magical-light clock, similar to the one in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, measures the threat level of the Muggle track – or what they call the No-Maj community in the US – and gives you an idea of how difficult it is will be to defeat the bewildering magic.
Cast a spell to overpower or discard the confusing magic and return the found object to its proper place. If you successfully reject Confoundable, you will receive rewards and be taken to a higher level.
You can also find dark wizards on the map who can duel. Duels are fast and you have to swiftly switch between defensive and offensive spells to defeat your opponent. If you're casting spells, you'll want to accurately trace the spellings on your screen. Be careful because you will be punished if your wand work is too sloppy. Potions can help with the accuracy of a spell and heal damage caused by an opponent's spell.
For me, it took a few struggles to work out the mechanisms for finding an opponent, targeting him, casting spells and maintaining my health. But after I found out the process, the fighting was exciting. I'm not sure I've got the random confidence of Sirius Black against Death Eaters, but I felt more effective than a first-year Ron Weasley.
And finally, you can use a portkey on the map to transport it to a mesmerizing magical place where you can search and collect VR-like items.
Can I play it on my phone and in my country?
Niantic and WB Games San Francisco said the game should initially be available in 19 languages - including English, French, Spanish, Japanese and both Simplified and Traditional Chinese – but it was not determined in which regions the game was played should be available at startup. Although the game would run on a variety of iOS and Android phones – from high-end devices to older models – it would not address specific devices. It would not comment on whether the game with hardware accessories, such. As a magic wand, or would work with smartwatch integration.
There is good news for those who feared that the game could be crammed with micro-transactions: Mary Casey, managing director of the product for WB Games in San Francisco, said the goal was to allow players to play without them To pay or hit microtransaction walls. Inns and Greenhouses have a cooling down period after you've accumulated supplies, much like a PokeStop. And like Pokemon Go, you can buy supplies here, if you want.
When does it come out?
The game is now available in the US for iPhone and Android devices and will arrive in the UK on Friday, June 21, and soon thereafter in international territories. Niantic has tested the game in New Zealand and Australia.
Jonathan Knight, studio manager of WB Games San Francisco, promises that Harry Potter: Wizard's Unite will be a profound RPG forever, with the catastrophe forming a multi-year plot.
I may have seen something of the arc at the event. During the briefing, I saw a brief reference to "The London Five," four members of the Ministry of Magic and a "Daily Prophet" reporter missing. The missing five did not show up during the game, but may show up at some point in the story.
Could it be as big as Pokemon Go?
The union of popular franchise companies Harry Potter and Pokemon Go seems to be a solid bet for a hit game. The game developers have also done a good job of inspiring the Harry Potter fans and giving community members early access to promotional videos and clues.
This is not the first time that Warner Bros. is trying to develop a game for Potter fans. Last year, Portkey Games collaborated with Jam City on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a role-playing game set in the eleven years between Harry's birth and his entry into Hogwarts. As players seemed to enjoy the story and gameplay, they complained that much of the game was driven by microtransactions. In the year since its release, Jam City has worked to make the game less dependent on transactions.
Fans will also have to hope that Niantic learned of Pokemon Gos' launch three years ago. The company was unprepared for how quickly the game blew up in the summer of 2016 and spent months fulfilling the demands of the passionate and vocal community that soared. After initial problems with shaky game servers and an unfavorable firstNiantic has improved its delivery of updates over the last year.
Is this the game that Pokemon Go and Potter fans want? Niantic has shown that players who stay here have an experience that they can enjoy. And I was unexpectedly pleased that the game was pleasantly familiar and fresh. I'm looking forward to playing when it finally starts.
Originally published on March 11th.
Update, April 11: Adds information about reserving your name.
Update, April 17: Adds information to the beta test.
Update May 2: Adds information about advanced beta testing.
Update, June 19 : Adds official start date.
Update June 20: Adds US startup information.