Pokemon GO creator Niantic Labs is developing a Harry Potter augmented reality game for smartphones, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday. The title is allegedly set to launch at some point in 2018, but no specific availability windows have yet been provided. Supposedly called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the game is being developed in partnership with Warner Bros. whose British studio TT Games already created four LEGO-themed games set in the universe originally envisioned by J.K. Rowling. Warner Bros. was rumored to be working on a Harry Potter game this spring, though initial reports suggested that the studio's upcoming project will be a console RPG developed by its recently revived unit Avalanche and made in Unreal Engine 4. While Niantic's project sounds like an unrelated effort, it's currently unclear how the company found itself working with the Time Warner-owned entertainment company.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is said to be somewhat similar to Ingress and — by extension — Pokemon GO, with TechCrunch suggesting it will be a location-based AR title. Niantic already confirmed it's working on a new AR game for (Android) smartphones, adding that its experimental project will be extremely audio-driven to the point of encouraging players to experience the game with headphones and possibly be able to play it even while they're walking and not looking at their device. However, it's still unclear whether the company's previous remarks on the matter were related to the alleged Harry Potter title or another project. The upcoming game is possibly made in Unity, Niantic's usual engine of choice.
The firm's most successful product to date is still receiving regular updates and frequently hosting in-game events, with the company repeatedly stating that it's planning on supporting Pokemon GO for years to come. That ambition is unlikely to change as the San Francisco, California-based developer continues releasing new mobile games in the near future, though a major studio expansion may be on the cards if the company truly managed to score another major licensing deal. No official confirmation of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite being in the making has yet been provided by Niantic, with the original report on the matter not citing any specific sources. The company has already been rumored to be developing a mobile adaptation of the Harry Potter series in the summer of 2016, shortly after Pokemon GO became a global success, but has promptly debunked those allegations.