'Wizards Unite' Turns the World into a Branded 'Harry Potter' Hellscape

The neat way to start this story would be to recount the moment I stepped out onto Edinburgh’s streets the day of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’s release in the UK. Having ridden the train through the lush lowland greens of central Scotland, I walked up from the subterranean train station only to be confronted by the vertiginous medieval buildings of the Scottish capital.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d3n9mz/wizards-unite-turns-the-world-into-a-branded-harry-potter-hellscape
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I’ve been playing it on and off in the past couple weeks, mainly since I’ve had my interest in the series somewhat reinvigorated recently through listening to a re-read podcast (The Shrieking Shack, big recommend from me if you want to revisit the series through a leftist critical lens).

It’s pretty bizarre and the Pokemon Go format feels incredibly shoehorned in here. Obviously PokeGo was borrowing infrastructure and ideas from Ingress, but the core mechanics of collection were heavily informed by Pokemon as a concept. Transplanting that idea into collecting a scrapbook of random stuff from the HP franchise is a bad fit, and it’s probably going to be the formula AR games go with from here, unfortunately.

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My biggest question about Wizards Unite is how will they make the game last? Pokemon Go is effectively drip feeding content with new pokemon and shineys of previously avaliable ones. They can keep this up for years more as they are only partially through Gen 4 right now.

This Harry Potter game has no clear story or long term objective. My girlfriend is playing the other Harry Potter mobile game and is slowly slogging through the years of school, but despite her liking HP far more than Pokemon she is barely playing Wizards Unite and is still a hardcore Go addict.

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No clue, it already feels like they’re scratching the bottom of the barrel with a good deal of the collectibles in this game.

For as much of an absolute time-gated slog as Hogwarts Mystery is, that at least is closer to the core of what people connect with in the series (the cozy sense of place, which had been JK’s primary strength as a writer).

It’s a shame Harry Potter as a series never got that moment that Star Wars games did back in the 90s, where the ideas in the story informed unique game mechanics, rather than the story and setting just being used as window dressing for an existing set of mechanics.


Living in Edinburgh, I already feel surrounded by Harry Potter stuff at most times. Especially with the increase in shops selling overpriced HP tat in recent years! I don’t think I need an app that adds more of it :joy:

What I’ve seen and read of it, it seems weird to me how close to Niantec’s other games it is. This feels like it could have been their chance to do something new and interesting but instead seems to be basically the same thing again but for a slightly different audience (although I’d be willing to bet the overlap of “People who grew up with Harry Potter” and “People who grew up with Pokemon” is a pretty large one.)

Anyway, my main take away is they should make a sequel to that Quidditch game for the PS2 because that game was lowkey fantastic.

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I wonder what became of that expensive-looking new Harry Potter RPG that got leaked last year? It’s pretty much a toss up between ‘sometime early next gen’ and ‘cancelled’ I suppose.

I’m really looking forward to Witchbrook, regardless–from the way it’s been described, it really does sound like a game that uses some very Harry Potter ideas to inform its mechanics, even if it’s not actually a, well, Harry Potter game. (Honestly at this point it’s probably the Little Witch Academia similarities that are the bigger draw for me.)

Every Harry Potter and Pokemon game that gets released, just leads to a little bit of disappoint from me that it’s not the exploration game that everyone’s been dreaming of for decades.

@SandwichAnarchy I’m also really looking forward to Witchbrook, which seems to be the Harry Potter game I’ve always dreamed of. But it seems like they only figured out the core gameplay a few weeks ago, so it’s not releasing anytime soon.

Call me cynical, but my guess would be; spend as little money as possible developing a reskin of a game that you’ve already made, minimise infrastructure costs by piggybacking on Pokémon Go, and make as much up-front money as possible with little to no intent for long term support or development