The last few months have been exciting times for Harry Potter fans with the announcement of not one, but two free-to-play mobile app games set in the wizarding world. Respectively named Harry Potter Wizards Unite and Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, the release date for both titles in set for 2018. Surprising as it may be to have two Potter games released in quick succession, the primary reason for this is that they offer two fundamentally different gaming experiences. Pitted against each other, Harry Potter Wizards Unite VS Hogwarts Mystery, what are their differences and how do they compare?
Wizards Unite is an augmented reality game in the vein of Pokemon Go, while Hogwarts Mystery offers a role-playing style adventure where the player develops and customizes their own character. San Francisco based Mobile game studio Jam City, of Cookie Jam and Futurama Worlds of Tomorrow fame have been working on Hogwarts Mystery for the past two years. The developer behind Ingress and the worldwide phenomenon Pokemon Go, Niantic, is producing Wizards Unite. Both studios are working in conjunction with Portkey Games, an umbrella division created by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment committed to bringing to life the Harry Potter universe.
Here’s a breakdown of what we can expect from both titles.
Harry Potter Wizards Unite VS Hogwarts Mystery
Harry Potter Wizards Unite Mobile App Game
Other than a handful of Twitter posts and a bare bones website announcing the game, there are very few details about the Harry Potter Wizards Unite mobile app game. We do, however, know that the augmented reality element will be incorporated in real-world locations and involve hunting down items, honing new spells, working with other players to battle mythical creatures and interacting with characters from the books. The essential premise is that players can live out there wizarding fantasies while roaming the real world.
Common conjecture surrounding the title gravitates around game play being similar to Pokemon Go, in part due to an interview with Niantic CEO John Hanke in the September 2016 issue of Game Informer. He revealed that the studio’s next game would be similar to Pokemon Go and built on the same technical foundations.
A November 8th blog post on Niantic’s website seems to correlate the information, adding that the game will take advantage of the existing Niantic platform as well as implement innovative new mechanics and fresh technology. In our minds, this sounds like a wand-wielding Pokemon Go full of new features coating the real world with wizarding magic.
Persistent Worlds and Multiplayer
Niantic’s recent acquisition of Escher Reality may also shed some light on the new technologies being implemented. Primarily, the use of persistent AR worlds, whereby items and creatures appear in a defined location for multiple players. The potential is for group battles and coordinated game play. The technology also works cross-platform. This means both iOS and Android users could view and engage with the very same virtual in-game feature simultaneously. The possibilities opened up are veritably appetizing and we sense that Wizards Unite may possibly be a fundamentally multiplayer game.
As always, we will keep you updated as and when new details emerge. In the meantime, check out this fan-made mock up of what AR wizarding could look like.
Hogwarts Mystery Mobile App Game
Now let’s look at the other contender in the Wizards Unite VS Hogwarts Mystery match up.
Set in the 1980s, Hogwarts Mystery takes place during Harry’s lifetime, but before he attends Hogwarts himself. The developer has purposefully circumvented the plot of the books in order to create a new story arc. You are trying to solve the mystery of your brother’s disappearance. As the years at the wizarding school progress, more details emerge and the plot thickens. This augurs the inclusion of more fantastical elements beyond the day to day activities of Hogwarts’ pupils.
Before taking part in a sorting ceremony, to determine which house they belong to, players customize their own student characters. They then navigate the halls of Hogwarts attending classes and learning magic skills. A casting mechanic allows spells to be fine tuned and improved. There’s combat, new locations, homework and even the ability to choose a pet. The game works on a quest system that ranges from main story-line objectives to smaller side missions.
Friends and Enemies
A novel encounter system reinforces the role-playing element of the game. Choices and decisions given to the player by professors and other students drive the story. They also shape relationships and reputation. Situational choices will also require that the player choose the right spell in order to progress forward.
The idea is to make friends as well as rivals. Ultimately, to become the type of wizard that resonates the most with the player. This allows you to become either a mischief maker, a wizard of a more rebellious ilk, or a studious pupil for example. The possibilities are endless. The mobile app also has appearances from iconic characters from the series such as Professor Mcgonagall, Hagrid, and Severus Snape.
Wizards Unite VS Hogwarts Mystery – Release Dates
Development of the Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery mobile app is more advanced than Wizards Unite and Jam City have set the release date for Spring 2018, which is enticingly close. There’s even game play footage of a demo from the A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 event held in late January. As for Wizards Unite there’s still no word on an official release date. Wizards Unite VS Hogwarts Mystery, it’s hard to say which one we are most excited about.