Niantic just revealed the launch date of its much-anticipated Harry Potter-branded AR follow-up to Pokémon GO. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite starts its world domination attempt in two days — hope you didn’t have any better plans this weekend, because I no longer do.
The worldwide launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite begins this Friday, June 21! Keep your eyes peeled and wand ready for more information as the game goes live in your region soon. #WizardsUnitepic.twitter.com/ckk4s4mi8a
— Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (@HPWizardsUnite) June 19, 2019
We first heard about Wizards Uniteback in November 2017, and the finished product is looking pretty much exactly how we at TNW anticipated. Your smartphone is your wand — the launch trailer implies today’s witches and wizards disguise their wands as phones because Muggles already expect your phone to always be in your hand. Using your “phone,” you can cast spells to repel beasties, capture wayward artifacts, and dispel lingering magical effects. Even if you’re not in the cult of Potter, it looks like it’s going to be a blast.
The developers released a launch trailer alongside the announcement, and it’s a fun peek at modern wizardry — especially the aforementioned wand/phone switcheroo. It depicts a young witch fighting off Death Eaters and dementors — apparently saving Harry Potter himself in the process (I assume it’s him, given we see the round glasses and the distinctive “Hedwig’s Theme” plays). Not to be that fangirl, but Harry’s been able to confidently drive off multiple dementors since age 13. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need our help.
Still, that’s me being picky. I’m sure I’m not the only Potterhead who’ll look for holes in the lore, but that doesn’t mean the game itself won’t be enjoyable. The reviews from beta testers (which was exclusive to New Zealand and Australia) seem generally positive and encouraging.
Pokémon GO‘s perfect storm of nostalgia-tickling brand and ease of use is difficult to replicate — but that hasn’t stopped other companies from trying. If you’d told me a year or so after Pokémon GO‘s launch that Warner Bros and Microsoft would still be attempting to capitalize on the AR trend over three years after the former’s launch, I’m not sure I’d have believed you. But not only is that what’s happening, both Wizards Unite and Minecraft Earth look like they have a good shot at success.
Still, word to the wise: the tweet revealing the date said it’s when the launch “begins,” and to be ready for when the game releases “in your region,” meaning total worldwide rollout will take a while. It’ll be available on both iOS and Android on June 21.