Harry Potter Wizards Unite (HPWU) already looks like it could be the mobile game of the year. Made by Niantic, the same studio behind the phenomenally popular Pokémon Go, which took the world by storm when in was released back in 2016, HPWU promises to bring the same augmented reality gameplay and community to the rich and magical world of Harry Potter.
Right now, though, aside from a few small titbits of official information and one very tantalising trailer (you can watch it below), many aspects of Harry Potter Wizards Unite remain a mystery. What we do know, though, is that we are mad keen here at T3 about J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World and if Niantic can incorporate these following five features into the game then we feel it has an even greater chance of being bigger and better than Pokémon Go.
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1. Hufflepuff for life
One of the strongest aspects of the Harry Potter fiction is its wizarding school house system, so along with a far improved character creator tool than was delivered with Pokémon Go, we'd also like to be able to choose our Hogwarts house and, crucially, that have consequential effects on gameplay, narrative, and community features.
This improved level of depth compared to Pokémon Go would build immersion for the player and open up options for house-specific events and meet-ups, which is also more in-keeping to the fiction of Harry Potter, too.
2. I'll trade you one Niffler
With the Wizarding World's large and impressive bestiary of magical creatures both big and small, we feel it is pretty nailed on that Niantic is going to carry over the catch 'em all mechanic from Pokémon Go into Harry Potter Wizards Unite.
Indeed, in the game's teaser trailers suggest that a core part of the video game will be hunting down and capturing magical creatures (such as this "discombobulated Niffler") and objects that have gone rogue for some nefarious reason before any non-magical muggles spot them.
And, if that is the case, then without doubt HPWU needs an improved trading system when compared to that of Pokémon Go that allows you to simply trade these both with your friends and, also, fellow wizards online as well.
3. Variety is the spice of wizarding life
In the original Harry Potter Wizards Unite press release Niantic told gamers they would be able to "learn spells, explore their real world neighbourhoods and cities to discover and fight legendary beasts and team up with other to take down powerful enemies". And, that sounds ace!
Crucially, though, for this depth of gamplay to work then the in-game mechanics as demonstrated in Pokémon Go are without doubt going to have to been expanded, as if the same gameplay for capturing a Niffler is identical to, say, battling a dementor or duelling with a rival wizard, then we feel immersion could suffer.
Therefore, hopefully Niantic has not only expanded the game modes or, in the most simple way, things you can do in HPWU, but also built up the variety of gameplay mechanics, also.
4. Defence against the dark digital arts
Pokémon Go pocketed an estimated $795 million from in-app purchases in 2018 and, while we say all power to Niantic's elbow for making such a critical and commercial hit, if in-game purchases could be largely divorced from Harry Potter Wizards Unite's core gameplay and character progression, then we feel it would have a massively beneficial impact on the game.
For example, Pokémon Go featured paid for items that allowed players improve their XP significantly, and while we're not suggesting these should be ruled out completely, it did mean those who didn't open their wallets at a disadvantage. Hats, brooms, familiars, wands – there's plenty than can be offered for purchase that improves immersion for gamers while keeping the spell-casting field even.
5. Sign us up for the Quidditch World Cup
Events became one of the fundamental drivers of Pokémon Go becoming such a massive hit, with like-minded gamers getting together to hunt down rare Pokémon, trade, or simply hang out in the real world. Mass groupings on Pokémon Go players became symbolic of the game's quality and fun, but also helped keep things fresh after the first six months of the game being on release.
And, with Harry Potter Wizards Unite the potential for events is even greater, with the Wizarding World boasting a large series of fictional events, such as the Qudditich World Cup, and locations like Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade which could be used as vehicles for meet-ups, competitions or missions.
By temporarily tying real world locations to those in the Wizarding World then immersion and fun would be increased.