Niantic follows up 'Pokemon Go' with 'Harry Potter' AR game for iPhone

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Game developer Niantic's follow-up to the popular 'Pokemon Go' could end up being a similar game but within a different major franchise, with 'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' being prepared for launch sometime in 2018, complete with augmented reality and travel-based gameplay elements.

The Harry Potter game is being co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and its sub-brand Portkey Games, as well as Niantic Labs, reports TechCrunch. The choice of name for the Warner Bros. sub brand stems from important type of item within the Harry Potter universe that can transport users to other locations, suggesting the brand will only be used for apps related to the franchise.

Confirming the game as official to IGN, Niantic advises the game will have players "exploring real-world neighborhoods and cities across the globe... go on adventures, learn and cast spells, discover mysterious artifacts, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters."

After the wild success of "Pokemon Go," as well as the renewed popularity in augmented reality, Niantic reveals AR will be making an appearance in this game as well, though not exactly how it will be usable by players. Potential implementations could allow players to see effects of magical spells on the local environment via their iPhone screen, or even to see a creature or character from the franchise in front of them on a street.

Oddly, this is not the first time Niantic has been linked to Harry Potter, as in 2016, it was rumored to be developing a "Pokemon Go"-style game called "Harry Potter GO," due for release in 2017. The rumor was debunked by Snopes that same year, suggesting it was based on speculative reports, memes, and petitions from fans, which were apparently reported as fact by media outlets.

Pokemon Go broke download records within its first week of availability in the United States, and has continued to remain popular since then. Niantic is also continuing to support the game two years after its release, providing more legendary Pokemon to collect in special events, and more recently, holding an AR photography competition.
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