Behind the app with the creators of “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”

Jun 13, 2019

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Games, News, Tech, Video Games

Whilst we are twirling our wands (sorry about the flying sparks, that was accidental…) in anticipation of the release of the new augmented reality mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, we can take a peek behind the scenes and read about the development of the game and its creators.

studiointroCombining our love for all things Potter with our day job is a dream for many fans.  The developers of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite are amongst the lucky few who are living that dream.  Some members of the development team discuss their work creating the game in the first of a series of “Dev Diaries” on the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite website.  These behind-the-scenes peeks are clearly meant to build momentum and enthusiasm (it’s working!), and tide us over until the game’s release date (which we can’t reveal yet!).

Marigold, a Gryffindor and Project Manager for Niantic, Inc., said of the game:

“It’s what everyone imagines when you read the Harry Potter books,” said Marigold. “You imagine the characters and world coming to life around you. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite takes this a step further and brings it to life in your world so that you can actually see all the magical characters and fantastic creatures all around you. It’s almost like you can reach out and touch them.”

mikeHer colleague, Mike, a Hufflepuff Software Engineer, who worked on the Map and Portkey features of the game, said he is inspired by Luna Lovegood:

“She’s a calm, smart influence whose unique and sometimes scatterbrained approach to problems, that still produces a solution, is something to which I very much relate.”

Nicole, a Ravenclaw and Product Manager at WB Games, was extra lucky because she got to read and watch Harry Potter for work:

“The design and user experience of any title under the Portkey Games label has to be authentic to the original series,” said Nicole. “The wizarding world, however, is not a gamified universe by nature. Our goal was to find a way to deliver on the fan fantasy in a real-world AR mobile format. In order to do that, the game had to have recognizable elements from the books and films, so we were constantly fact-checking ourselves.”

nicoleFact-checking elements in Harry Potter as my day job?  Oh, yes, please!  Sign me up!

We got our first look at the game in March, and Leaky recently posted an update on the beta testing, which includes the game trailer.   The conceit of the game, with magic appearing seemingly randomly in the Muggle world as a result of the Calamity that players must resolve, brings the magical world into our world in a new way that has the potential to revolutionise the fan experience.   Steve, Design Director at WB Games and another Ravenclaw, is impressed with the quality of the artwork:

“The technical execution of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite as a whole is stunning.”

Nicole thinks that the collaborative nature of the game is fitting for Potter fans:

“Something we really admire about the Harry Potter community is that it’s such a welcoming and positive fan base, so we made the conscious decision to ensure that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was about collaboration and working together against a common enemy,” said Nicole. “I love that we were able to implement synchronous multiplayer challenges at Fortress locations. Everybody has a place. Everybody is important and needs to participate to succeed.”

You can read the rest of the developer interviews here.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.