The Harry Potter franchise has grown exponentially since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published in 1997. It has had movie adaptations, the Fantastic Beasts spin-off series, a sequel in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, theme parks, and so much more. Video games are a big facet of any multimedia empire, and Harry Potter is no exception. Niantic's mobile title Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has events planned throughout August 2020, for example, but many fans are excited about the prospects of a long-anticipated RPG for next-generation consoles.
There have been rumors about a Harry Potter RPG for some time, and Warner Bros. apparently had plans to discuss it at E3 2020 before the convention was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was later reported that this class-based Harry Potter RPG is coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in late 2021, and this could be a best-case scenario for fans of the franchise. While Sony and Microsoft have been cagey about details like the prices of next-generation consoles, games on display in various showcase events suggest there is huge potential for a magic-focused title.
One of the best examples of how visually and technically impressive a Harry Potter game could be is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on the PS5. It was one of the first games shown during Sony's "Future of Gaming" livestream in June, clearly chosen to display what the console is capable 0f. The amount of visual flair through particle effects and unique environments could easily translate to spell casting and places like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with untold moving parts. The way Ratchet & Clank seamlessly moves characters through dimensional rifts may also be a good analog for a variety of transit options in Harry Potter, such as Portkeys and Floo Powder.
Having more power to create visually-appealing spells while packing more into each area thanks to tech like solid-state drives means the RPG aspects of a Harry Potter game could thrive. Titles like Dark Souls offer players options to express themselves, and having multiple equally satisfying areas of study could do the same here. A player can focus on combative spells like Expelliarmus, they can become better at brewing potions, or they can develop better modes of transit over time. The immersion could be furthered by hardware like the PS5 DualSense controller, which boasts haptic feedback that could help players feel magical warmth or blowbacks from failed spells.
Prototypes for how a living, breathing wizarding world could be handled already exist. Many have brought up comparisons between the Officers Academy in Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Hogwarts, for example. Garreg Mach Monastery is a huge campus set in a mountainous castle where students in different Houses learn magic (among other skills) between building romances and accomplishing missions dolled out by a head authority. Upscale the game's graphics with next-generation technology and shift battles into live, environmental combat, and voila: the perfect starting template for a Harry Potter game.
Last week, Rocksteady Studios announced its Suicide Squad game after years of rumors and speculation. That title has supposedly been in development for some time alongside a new Batman: Arkham game and the Harry Potter RPG, so the fact that it finally surfaced means the other titles could also be brought to light soon. With recent controversies around series creator J.K. Rowling's transphobic comments on social media, there might be some time before Warner Bros. is comfortable revealing the next Harry Potter game, though. When it does, it would be great to see the game take advantage of what next-generation consoles are capable of.
A Harry Potter RPG is reported to be in development.