Let’s all take a moment and go over what we know of Pókemon GO and Wizards Unite, or as it was initially referred to: Harry Potter GO.
We’ll analyse their similarities and differences, and figure out what to expect from the new Augmented Reality game.
What they have in common
The developer of both Wizards Unite and Pokémon GO is Niantic, probably the best known company in the AR gaming industry. In fact, the two most popular AR games by far are Pokémon GO and Ingress. Both developed by Niantic.
Wizards Unite will definitely make it three for three.
Pokémon GO launched in summer 2016. It offered a largely new way to play a mobile phone game, interacting with the players’ surroundings.
Through the use of our phone’s camera we can see different Pokémons as part of our environment and catch them. There are also certain areas where Pokémons are more likely to appear, which worked as an incentive for people to move around their area.
The game caused quite a sensation when it first came out. The news coverage alone was something unseen before. People were going out for walks trying to catch, hatch or evolve their Pokémons. There were a few incidents, but it has largely been a great experience for players all over the globe.
And the Pokémon GO events are simply amazing. Almost three years in, and with a few interesting updates, AR+ being available for Android users and not just iOS, and the introduction of PvP, the game is still going strong.
You can check out Niantic CEO’s John Hanke’s MWC 2019 Keynote right here. In his presentation he talks about what drove him to create Pokémon GO, and what new technology the company is working on.
You can also follow the MWC conversation on our Community Forum.
Much like its predecessor, Wizards Unite will make use of AR technology to bring the Wizarding World into our Muggle lives. We will be able to see things from the Potterverse in our surroundings through the phone camera and interact with them.
Hopefully the game will be compatible with AR+ technology from the beginning. This would allow us to interact with fantastic beasts or magical objects in a much better way. These beasts or objects will be aware of our direction or the speed of our approach, and react accordingly. Just imagine a little niffler running away from us, a Demiguise turning invisible as soon as we see them, or a bludger coming straight at us full force.
This is mostly where we believe the similarities will end.
What will be different
For Pokémon GO, the main goal is to catch and level up as many Pokémons as possible. Much like with the source material, you can fight other Pokémons and even ally with other players.
With Wizards Unite there will be a storyline for the game to follow. We still don’t know how strong that storyline will be, though. But we’re hoping for the best.
The Calamity is putting the wizarding world in danger of exposure, and a new Task Force was created (here) in an attempt to stop it. So for starters the game is expected to follow a certain structure.
The first two trailers showed Quidditch equipment out of control, which tells us there will be magical artifacts we will need to stop. And the last trailer finally confirmed fantastic beasts will be part of the game as well. You can read more on this right here.
The Different types of Magic
Since we will be dealing with different objects or creatures in Wizards Unite, it makes sense for us to use specific spells when trying to stop or capture any of them. So far we have seen two types of wand movements for the game:
On the Niffler image we have a Registry which presumably keeps track of the different types of Calamity-related incidents that have occured. It would make sense for each type of incident to have its own specific wand movements. Or perhaps the spell cast will depend on the rarity or danger of whatever we are trying to catch, with more intricate spells for higher level finds.
It was also mentioned on the Pottermore announcement that we will be able to build our own magical careers through the game. We take this to mean we can specialize in certain types of magic, such as Magizoology, Potion making, Law enforcement, healing… This opens up the possibility of creating our own teams with players specialized in different areas, which would make us better suited to deal with the Calamity. Something similar to what you would find during an RPG campaign.
The New Technology
Here is where things seems to be the most different. Niantic has been developing some extremely interesting multiplayer platform. This would allow players to interact with each other within the game. Whether this will be used to directly compete with one another (Codename Neon) or to work together on the same goal (Codename Tonehenge) is still unknown.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that, unfortunately, our technology is not quite there yet.
As mentioned during the MWC presentation, this multiplayer platform would rely heavily on G5 and low-latency networks. Codename NEON was available during the convention for guests to try on Samsung devices, and it looks beyond amazing. Niantic is clearly working on getting us there, considering the new deals and partnerships with German telecom companies. But there’s still a long way to go.
The basic technology and the idea of basing a game on Augmented Reality is basically the same same for both Wizards Unite and Pokémon GO. However, we expect Wizards Unite to be a much broader game, with a storyline to push us through, a clear goal (stopping the Calamity) and a huge array of possibilities. WB is, after all, behind this new game, and they have pretty deep pockets.
So while we wait for Wizards Unite to finally release, make sure you level up on PoGO and Ingress. And check out this post with what we know about WU and our best ideas to better pass the time until we can all join the SoS Task Force!