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A new Harry Potter quest aims to get gamers outdoors with a Pokemon Go-style treasure hunt

Nick Whigham, March 24, 2019 3:22PM news.com.au

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The highly anticipated game will be out later this year. media_cameraThe highly anticipated game will be out later this year.

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Get ready for the next Harry Potter craze — and one of its main aims is to get fans and gamers spending more time outdoors.

Niantic Labs, the company that turned the world into a giant Pokemon Go hunting ground in 2016, has finally revealed new details about its long-awaited* follow-up game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Some of the scenes from Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
media_cameraSome of the scenes from Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

A few lucky journalists got the chance to play the game ahead of its release later this year. They discovered there’s a map that corresponds* to the real world, and players mostly travel around on foot exploring physical spaces to discover digital items or engage with creatures in a magical showdown.

Gaming website The Verge described it this way after getting a taste of the game: “The core activity in Wizards Unite involves collecting a mix of artefacts* and sometimes saving notable* characters from the series who are stuck in a bad situation.

“Once you find the item or friendly character, you play a little game that involves casting a spell by tracing your finger on your smartphone screen and then collecting the item or freeing the character.

You cast spells with little tracing games on your screen.
media_cameraYou cast spells with little tracing games on your screen.
The fundamentals of the game will be familiar to Pokemon Go players.
media_cameraThe fundamentals of the game will be familiar to Pokemon Go players.

“Afterwards, you’re able to add that item or character to your collections book, earn experience points and level up.”

Throughout the game, players would learn spells, explore real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover and fight beasts and team up with others to take down bad guys, Niantic said when it announced the game in 2017.

The creators have high hopes for this kind of social mobile gaming where people are encouraged to get outside with their friends.

VIDEO: Watch a young Daniel Radcliffe audition for the Harry Potter role.

Niantic Labs was all about making large-scale social games so people could exercise and spend time face-to-face with other gamers, the company’s CEO John Hanke said last month.

“We all need a little nudge to do some exercise. We’re trying to build products to encourage that,” he said during a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It’s also all about old-fashioned social interaction*.

“There’s medical evidence that face-to-face interactions lead to better general wellbeing,” he added.

Pokemon Go was a huge global success, and along with a couple of earlier titles has generated more than $1.4 billion in revenue for the company.


GLOSSARY

  • long-awaited: something you’ve been waiting a long time for
  • corresponds: matches almost exactly
  • artefacts: objects made by humans and of historic or cultural significance
  • notable: important or remarkable
  • social interaction: acting and reacting to those around us

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is the full name of the new game?
  2. What do players need to collect?
  3. How do you cast a spell in the game?
  4. Which company made the game?
  5. What is the company trying to encourage gamers to do?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. A game of your own
Choose a favourite book, movie or show that you think could be adapted to create a Pokémon Go/Wizards Unite style game.

What is the name of the book, movie or show?

Why do you think this book, movie or show is a good choice for adapting into a game?

Draw 4 items that players of the game would collect and explain how they relate to the book, movie or show.

What would players need to do to collect the items?

What other challenges would players complete as part of the game that encourage exercise and social interaction?

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Digital Technologies, Critical and Creative Thinking


2. Extension
Write a 2-3 sentence summary of your game idea that could appear on the App Store. It should briefly explain how the game works and also aim to entice new players.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

VCOP ACTIVITY
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Will you play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite when it comes out? What excites you about the game?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. Comments will not show until approved by editors.

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