Rocket Game Corner: Niantic's Harry Potter GO

Pokémon Go players in Moscow. (Artem Smetlov/Flickr under CC BY 2.0)

Iwas totally amongst the masses who were completely bonkers for Niantic’s highly anticipated Pokemon GO app when it came out in the summer of 2016. I vividly remember that I was pissed when America got the app well ahead of Canada, and then when Canada finally did get the app, it wasn’t immediately available for Android devices. I was not-so-sneakily attempting to download the thing whilst simultaneously taking apart a printer to try to figure out where it was jammed (I worked in the photo printing department of a big box store that shall not be named). I finally got it by the end of the day, caught my first Squirtle, and went on merrily with my summer.

The hype has certainly faded for PoGo, even with me. I have not opened the app in months. This is not Niantic’s fault. Niantic actually did a pretty good job with the massive app. I have not opened PoGo because I have an obsessive personality, and I go hard at games for a while and then don’t touch them for months (see October 31st’s Rocket Game Corner featuring Animal Crossing).

This is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m pretty excited for Niantic’s next big release: Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. I am a Potterhead. I grew up with the Golden Trio and their misadventures. I literally describe myself as a Hufflepuff. I’m still slightly convinced that the only reason I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter when I turned eleven is that Tom Riddle destroyed the magical registration book for my generation. When I found out that my six-year-old sister-in-law wanted a copy of Philosopher’s Stone for Christmas, I took myself immediately to Cole’s and bought it for her (even though Nerdboy and I had initially planned on getting it for her eleventh birthday, we’ve come to terms with corrupting her early). The concept of literally being a wizard is pretty freaking exciting.

Niantic is working in tandem with Warner Bros. to create Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as Warner Bros. still holds the movie rights to the franchise. According to Niantic’s press release, users will be able to fight enemies, likely Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort, with the help of other wizards. There will also be fantastic beasts — whether they’re friendly, like Newt Scamander’s, or massively unfriendly like Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts, it is unknown.

My personal hopes for Wizards Unite are the basics: a sorting, having a wand select me, and learning the spells that Harry and his friends learned over the course of their educations at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There is currently not a solid timeline for mainstream release, with the game still in alpha testing, but Niantic has promised that more information will become available in 2018.

In the meantime, I will be sitting in The Quill office with my Hufflepuff scarf, saving up for a trip to Fake Hogwarts Orlando, and re-reading all seven Harry Potter books on repeat.