‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ Is the New ‘Pokémon GO’

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With Niantic at the helm, we already had a decent idea of what to expect: an AR game set in the Harry Potter universe that plays at least somewhat similarly to Pokemon GO and Ingress.

Pre-registration is now open for Google Play, but not yet for iOS users.

These are "artefacts, creatures, people and even memories" from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts books that must be found by new recruits from the Statute of Secret Task Force - and that's you.

"As you step outside and explore the world, the Map will reveal Traces of magic, highlighting the location of magical Foundables", Niantic said in a blog post today, noting that certain Foundables are more likely to appear in places like banks, college campuses, monuments, or zoos.

Though the process of using AR to track down these Foundables in the real world - and then cast some spells to capture them - will make Pokemon Go fans feel at home, HP: WU has a lot more complexities to it than its forebearer AR games.

The game, made in partnership between Pokémon Go andIngress makers Niantic and WB Games, uses the same Global Positioning System and AR abilities you'll find in Go. But where Pokemon Go is largely about collecting, Wizards Unite is focused on immersing you in its world, from a voice-acted story to involved RPG-like skill trees.

Just as Pokeballs are required to catch Pokemon in Pokemon GO, Spell Energy is required to cast spells in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. In addition, there are Portmanteaus that, when unlocked, hand out Portkeys that "whisk you away to iconic wizarding world locations". The Pokemon Go parallels are front and center; instead of PokeStops, for example, Wizards Unite has greenhouses and inns where you can get various items.

Back in November, we were given our first official trailer, giving us some kind of idea as to the game's storyline.

The player will be able to choose their magical specialism - do you pursue the course of the Aurors, Magizoologists, or Professors? You also could potentially be offered early access to the game, although there are no guarantees for this. Eurogamer has gone hands-on with the title to explain that when "playing a beta version of Wizards Unite, it already feels as deep and well-rounded as Pokémon Go does in its third year - with layers of familiar and fresh-feeling ideas and servers that mostly play (Poké) ball", which clearly points to something similar that's also trying to do its own thing.

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