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The game will be called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and it's being co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive's Portkey Games. It's probably a good idea to spread the load since, again, Pokemon Go is still hugely successful and you don't want to ruin a good thing by focusing on too many projects at once.
It was rumored last year that Niantic would be working on a Harry Potter game next, but, as Tech Crunch reminds us, those rumors were eventually debunked. Assuming the rumors were not actually true at the time, it would appear that someone at either Niantic or WB decided that this would be a tremendous idea, and thus we've got Wizards Unite on the way.
Part of Pokemon Go's success was that it was perfectly targeted at its fan base. Series vets had been tracking down and capturing monsters for decades in the virtual space, and now they had a mobile game that would let them do it in real life. The game was a bit bare-bones in the early goings, but it has since grown in both scope and interactivity. Niantic still hosts regular in-game events, new Pokemon are constantly being added and, while it isn't the insane craze we saw at launch, the game still has a huge community of players.
So if Niantic is hoping to reach a similarly rabid audience of diehad fans, they probably couldn't have picked a better property to go with than Harry Potter. Plus, much like the Pokemon series, there's a lot of source material to draw on, including a collection of mainline novels and movies, a stage play, oodles of official supplemental books and, of course, the new Fantastic Beasts movie series.
While there aren't many details outside of a 2018 launch, we at least know that Niantic plans to use their location-based mechanics once again. The original story references their first game, Ingress, which itself served as the bones for Pokemon Go. The success of the latter would actually mean that the Harry Potter game gets a head start in terms of location data and the like. But the question remains: Will we be catching critters from the Harry Potter universe, or doing something completely different? The original article suggests activities such as collecting runes or ingredients for spells, casting them in augmented reality and then using your team's collected powers to defend key locations.
We'll have to wait on Niantic to reveal more details but, until then, what would you folks like to see in Wizards Unite?