An Evening of Magic with “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” at Universal Studios

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set to come out June 21, but some lucky people got to try it out early at the Evening of Magic event at Universal Studios Hollywood. There, in addition to getting to play the game, guests also had the chance to hear from the creators themselves, including John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO, and Mary Casey, Executive Director of Product at WB Games San Francisco.

In addition to giving an overview of the game itself, the creators also delved into why they created Wizards Unite and what their goals were in making it. John Hanke explained that the game has three driving purposes: to encourage players to get out, explore, and get to know the world around them; to encourage exercise, getting people out and walking around; and to encourage face-to-face interaction. Instead of just connecting people online, this game will allow people to meet face-to-face, building real-world connections.

 

 

However, these three goals can be combined into a simple mission statement, that the creation of this game is a quest to use technology to turn the world into a place where we can all go out to play. In a later interview, Mary Casey expanded on that idea:

I often think about being a kid, and we didn’t have the ability to go on great, big, expensive American holidays to come to a place like Universal Studios and see Hogwarts for real. And so I really wanted to create a feature that allowed any kid or adult anywhere to be able to have that experience, to see Hogwarts, to step into the wizarding world, to look around them and see those kinds of details.

 

 

With the creation of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, magic is there and all around you. The veil between the magical world and the Muggle one gets peeled back, and regular places become magical. There might even be, as Mary Casey teased, a possibility of seeing werewolves during a full moon.

There were also two special announcements made at the event. The first is that Wizards Unite has partnered with Simon Malls, which owns malls all over the United States, in order to help expand the game in different locations. The second announcement is not a surety but rather a possibility. Recently, there was a massive Pokémon GO event called Pokémon GO Fest that brought together thousands of players. John Hanke announced that there is a possibility of a similar event centered around Wizards Unite happening later in the summer.

Hopefully, this is able to happen, not only because it would be an incredibly fun event but also because coming together is a major theme of the game. Mary Casey explained that one idea they really wanted to push is that we are stronger united. You can see this aspect of the game when entering Fortress challenges, which are team-based challenges of up to five players. So keep your fingers crossed and your ears open for any future announcements.

 

 

Given the love of Harry Potter that already unites fans and creators alike, there is no doubt that Wizards Unite will achieve all it sets out to do. So it’s time to get ready and grab your wands, your phones, and maybe an extra charger or two. Because this summer is going to be magical.

Mikaela Renshaw

I picked up a Harry Potter book for the first time when I was six years old and promptly fell in love. However, it didn’t take long for my love of literature to go beyond just Harry Potter and I am now working towards my PhD in English. Outside literature, I love Irish-dancing, D and D, going to the beach, attending Comic-Con, and playing with my dog.