Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available right now

By Joe Robinson 20 Jun 2019 0

Second Update: So, despite being very clear about Wizard's Unite releasing tomorrow, either Niantic, or Warner Bros themselves have decided to throw caution to the wind, yell "YOLO-armus!" and release it today instead. Can't complain, I guess? Although I did have plans this afternoon. Plans that don't involve running around my street trying out all of the new Harry Potter things...

We've just downloaded the game on Android and taken it for a quick spin - You can sign up with either Facebook or Google, it'll ask your date of birth, your name, and then a publicly view-able 'codename'. You can furhter customise your profile with a profile selfie (with filters), as well as customising your wand. Here are some early screenshots if you're interested:

Wziards Unite Sample

From left to right: A map shot from where I live, Hagrid trapped in my spare room and a glance at the micro-transaction store.

Don't forget to read on below for the original story, as well as some interview snippets with further details about the game.

Update: So along with the original news regarding Harry Potter: Wizard Unite's release date below, we've also got some extra information regarding what it'll be like courtesy of an interview Eurogamer conducted with Executive Producer Mary Casey at a recent press event.

Here's some pacific summaries and quotes you may be interested in:

On Monetisation, Casey laid out how the game’s Free-to-Play nature would work. While Niantic is committed to making sure all parts of the game are (after some grind) accessible to everyone, there will be opportunities to “speed up some parts of the game”. Later in the interview, Casey comments how they’re currently committed to making this more of a co-op first experience, so it’s unlikely ‘Pay-to-Win’ syndrome will apply here, although people will be able to accelerate their progress with money.

If players did want to potentially speed up some parts of the game, then they would be able to do that by making some microtransactional purchases throughout the game, but game balance-wise, we ensure that the game remains playable to all without any of the purchases.

Pokemon Go was much an ‘out & about’ game where there was very little you could get done within your own home. In Wizard's Unite, the team seem to have provided some activities that can be done without the need to go roaming:

… there's also things like potion brewing, which can be done anywhere at any time, also your portkeys once they're warped can be opened in the comfort of your own home, so we've really focused on the core tenets of the Niantic real world platform which is getting out there, exercise, out in the fresh air, exploring the neighbourhood, at the same time there are some touchpoints of different things you can do when you're not able to get out.

Speaking of potion mechanics, here’s a further explanation of how that works:

So there are a number of different potions throughout the game, you brew potions by collecting ingredients you find throughout the world, and in our latest update you'll also be able to go through greenhouses and collect ingredients, and also grow ingredients using seeds and water, so if you really needed a certain item you'd be able to grow the item and collect it. And then everybody who was around that greenhouse would be able to collect that item as well.

So once you have everything you need, you put them in a cauldron, and then you take some time to brew. Feel free to interact with that potion while it's brewing, maybe shake your phone, give it a little stir, all sorts of different effects can occur if you're doing that. Once the potion's brewed, depending on what type of potion it is, it can be used at different stages throughout the game. Many potions give you bonuses to other things you're doing, so maybe an XP bonus, or a health bonus during a fortress battle, or in an encounter so straight one on one encounters during a trace of magic, you may be able to either stop the confoundable from whisking the foundable away, or to lower the difficulty of that as well.

One thing I noticed with Pokémon Go was that there could be an imbalance as to where the Pokestops and Pokémon spawns were located. There really wasn’t much to catch or places to visit where I lived, versus where I worked when we were still owned by Slitherine.

This Is also being addressed in Wizard’s Unite, allegedly thanks to the input form the Australia & New Zealand players:

We really hope that everyone who plays the game, no matter where they are, has a balanced experience, and we're always soliciting feedback on that type of thing. So yeah, I'm hoping that, I believe that we're in a really great place and everyone will get the experience they want.

…one of the things we designed for this game was something called the landmark feature, what the landmarks do is essentially take real world points of interest and create areas around there where different types of traces will be more common. So what that will mean is essentially some places in urban areas will be dense in some types of foundables, and some places in suburban or rural areas will find other traces more common. So with that we encourage people to explore, to go to different areas, but also it doesn't feel like the haves and the have nots. Everyone has something they can encounter and enjoy, cast spells against, brew.

Make sure you give the full interview to read, as there's some extra bits of info as well (although Casey is very well trained in terms of what she does and doesn't say).

Original Story: Games like Pokémon GO aren’t for everyone, but I’ve always quietly admired Niantic’s marriage of a popular IP, AR tech and incentive design. Sure, it can be grindy in the way the worst F2P games often are, but I explored so many parks and places I’d never seen before when I dabbled in Pokémon GO a few years ago, and the game in general never made me feel pressured into spending money. Plus, you know, Pokémon!

Niantic’s latest foray into IP-based AR will be Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. You get to rock around being a wizard, basically, which I imagine is going to make some people unreasonably happy come the end of the week as the developer have just announced that the magic will start on Friday, June 21st, 2019. For US and UK-based gamers, that is.

We will be joining the ranks of the Australians and New Zealanders who’ve already been enjoying a soft-launch period for a while, and more regions are due to come online although we don’t have any details on the timetable.

Harry Potter is not my favourite IP – I think I’m actually a bit more excited about the Minecraft one – but I’ll probably jump into this for some tinkering on my shiny new Pixel 3XL, and you can expect more coverage from us going forward as this is something we want to keep on top of, at least for the short-term.

Harry Potter is due for release at the end of this week on iOS & Android.

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