Pokemon Go was a lot of things, but one thing Silicon Valley hopes it will be is the catalyst for augmented reality, or AR, to go mainstream. Still, it would help the technology if there was a second big game, so Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go, are apparently obliging with a Harry Potter game.
This rumor has been around for a while, and first came up when Niantic, flush with Pokemon cash, bought the rights. They stated they had no specific plans at the time, but, according to TechCrunch, all of that has changed:
The app is now official, but the details are still scarce, with the launch timeframe of just sometime next year, but it sounds like there will be significant influence from the Niantic game Ingress, which allows players to roam the real world collecting power-ups, defending locations and exploring their environment…. and seems almost ready-made for a fantasy spell-casting coat of paint to replace its science-fiction special forces veneer.
Ingress, if you’re unfamiliar, is a game where different factions fighting a secret conspiracy battle for power, influence, and control, mostly by walking around and swiping on icons. It’s unlikely Potterheads will be running around the mall screaming about Patronuses into their phones or waving them around wildly, but it should be an interesting take on the franchise, especially if you’re able to throw some knock-off Pokeballs at some fantastic beasts.
The main question will be just what the setting is, and really how the game explains wizards, who spend most of their time avoiding non-magical humans, visiting public art. Also, we’re hoping for a crossover with Pokemon Go, if for no other reason than watching Hogwarts kids try to figure out how to capture Lickitung sounds like inherently great comedy.