Last month, some footage from a potentially new Harry Potter RPG, rumored to be named Harry Potter Magic Awakened, was leaked on Reddit by user VapeThisBro. The footage was taken down soon after by Warner Bros. due to copyright infringement. While the footage is no longer available on Reddit, some footage is still available more than a month later on YouTube thanks to user Munkzukich. As a massive Harry Potter fan of many years, the leaked footage has me buzzing with anticipation. I’m ecstatic, and from what I’ve seen, this does look like it’ll be a very interesting game – assuming it doesn’t get trapped in development hell.
What I would like to see
If this project comes to fruition in the near future (which I desperately hope it does), it looks like it’ll be a third-person, open-world, jam-packed-with-quests type of game. While this follows the RPG trends of recent years, I don’t mind it. Then again, I’m a slut for well-developed open worlds, so I’d probably enjoy it – assuming that’s the type of game this becomes. In order for me to love it, though, the world needs to be well developed and painfully detailed. Games like Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, the Witcher 3, and even good old Skyrim have set quite a high bar for quality, multi-faceted world building. I’ll need lore-inclusive locations like the Forbidden Forest to reflect the vivid, terrifying features I imagined when I first read J.K. Rowling’s books. I”ll need easter eggs and references to the original world – if not the original story – developed so eloquently by Rowling in her novels. If I am to love this possibly-in-development work, the world needs to capture the senses of mysticism, wonder, and discovery which engrossed me in the original Harry Potter series.
That said, if Magic Awakened doesn’t end up manifesting as the beautiful open world I’d like it to be, I could still enjoy it for the magic. In order for me to like playing this game, the spells would have to feel smooth and powerful to cast. They’d still need a challenging yet encouraging learning curve to entice me to continue playing around with magic, as well as a wide variety of spells to learn. I know this is a lot to ask, but from the leaked footage, it seems as though spell casting will be a fun and compelling experience. Duels with other wizards will not only rely on the use of spells themselves but the interactions between spells and the environment. I see this as an encouraging learning curve because there would be a lot of exploration in how the player uses spells, not just which spells to use.
Who’s making this happen?
There’s no solid information on who’s developing this game-to-be, but there is some solid speculation. Tom Phillips from Eurogamer has written that “Whispers we’ve heard align with Avalanche being behind the project, and I’ve been told the Warner-published game is still currently at least a year away from launch – which also fits with the timeline of Avalanche’s development schedule.” Avalanche Software does seem like a prime suspect for the development of this much-anticipated wizarding world RPG, seeing as they were bought by Warner Bros. Interactive back in 2017.
If Avalanche is developing a Harry Potter RPG, it’s probably going to be a solid game marketed toward a younger audience. Their work over the past decade has consistently been based on Disney’s intellectual property and marketed toward children. However, seeing as they’re no longer owned by Disney, there’s a good chance that this game is going to be far more adult. Plus, based on the leaked footage, I think I’ll get my fair share of wizarding violence.
Is Harry Potter Magic Awakened a game I’d enjoy? Probably. Am I intrigued? Absolutely. Are my hopes up? Painfully so. My one hope is that barring all the bells and whistles that usually accompany a AAA single-player adventure, I’ll get a good story out of this. Even if the narrative of this game doesn’t connect perfectly with the rest of the Harry Potter universe, I’ll be able to enjoy it so long as it does justice to the wizarding world I fell in love with so long ago.