The first trailer for Niantic's highly-anticipated Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is out now, and it frames the game just like the initial Pokemon GO trailers did. That is to say, a witch zaps in out of nowhere, grabs a Golden Snitch that has no business being in the Muggle world, and puts up a poster that's hopefully only visible to non-Muggles before zapping away to lands unknown. Just like that, we have our premise; this game is going to center on the concept of capturing magical things, artifacts at least and quite possibly creatures, and dragging them kicking and screaming out of the Muggle world before they have a chance to cause a mass panic and potentially expose the wizarding world. It seems players will be cast as wizards and witches participating in this grand hunt, with the endgame being to uphold the Statute of Secrecy.
Background: Just about nothing is revealed in this trailer, aside from the basic premise. It was already known that this would essentially be Ingress with pieces of the Potterverse, just like Pokemon GO was essentially Ingress with Pokemon. That, of course, only tells us about the core gameplay loop, which in this case seems to consist of finding magical things on the map, using the tools and spells at your disposal to subdue them, and sending them back where they belong. The game has managed to garner no shortage of hype thus far, despite the fact that actual gameplay details have been extremely sparse. It's not uncommon to hear speculation that this is going to be Pokemon GO with Harry Potter stuff, and on the surface, that's almost inevitably true. Niantic will be using the same engine and mapping data from Ingress here, just as it did with Pokemon GO. There are a ton of different ways that Niantic could change things up, and some of them have been done in other location-based games, even those using Niantic's mapping engine and data. The Walking Dead: Our World, for example, added in action combat. Ghostbusters World, on the other hand, adds in a story mode that ties the real world and the fictional world together.
Impact: However Niantic decides to pursue this grand proposal in the end, the fact is that jilted Harry Potter fans who felt that Hogwarts Mystery was not enough or was too pay-to-win will likely be watching this one like a hawk. In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that Warner Brothers and Portkey Games may be looking at this project as a way to gauge just how worthy a pursuit bringing the Potterverse to the mobile space may be. Previous gaming efforts in the Harry Potter franchise have been hit-and-miss, from the wonder of exploring Hogwarts in the first game on the Sony PlayStation to the much-maligned Deathly Hallows games on the XBOX 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 generation of consoles that many people said felt more like shooting games. This puts an even larger amount of pressure on Niantic and Portkey Games to make Wizards Unite a runaway hit. With a proven formula and a good license behind the game, Niantic has the potential for just such a hit on its hands.