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Pokémon Go maker Niantic working on Harry Potter game next

UPDATE: More details as Warner Bros. unveils new 'Portkey' Potter game label.

UPDATE 8/11/17 11.00pm: Niantic has now officially announced Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and offered just a smidgeon more information on what, exactly, players will be able to do when the augmented-reality smartphone game launches in 2018.

"Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies", says Niantic.

A different announcement over on official Potter site Pottermore adds a touch more detail. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite "will use state-of-the-art augmented reality technology on smartphones, so a player can view the real world through a wizarding world lens", it says.

"The game encourages you to step outside with your phone, explore your local surroundings and take part in a series of adventures, such as searching for magical creatures and bumping into iconic wizarding world characters along the way. Crikey. Who knows who you'll spot in your local park? You'll also be able to cast spells, discover mysterious artefacts, and build up your very own, illustrious wizarding career."

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is, it turns out, the first game in Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's new range of Harry Potter-themed mobile and console game "experiences", all of which fall under the new label Portkey Games. "So named because Portkeys transport wizards from place to place", says yet another official announcement.

There will be different games for different platforms, drawing from all across the Potter universe. Expect locations, story elements, and characters both old and new - perhaps even including "familiar characters 'at different points in their lives' from the Harry Potter stories".

ORIGINAL STORY 8/10/17 4.37pm: Pokémon Go developer Niantic's next game will be Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, another augmented-reality smartphone app, due for launch sometime in 2018.

It makes sense - like Pokémon, Harry Potter is a huge franchise with years and years worth of stuff which fans will no doubt want to collect.

Niantic is working on the game with Harry Potter games publisher Warner Bros. and its new Potter-themed brand Portkey Games, TechCrunch reported.

It's unknown exactly what form Wizards Unite will take - will players catch fantastic beasts? cast spells on other players? get to join a Hogwarts house for a team?

TechCrunch's report states there will be a "significant influence" from Niantic's original AR game Ingress, which also very much formed the base of Pokémon Go. (Think of Ingress as a more complicated version of Pokémon Go that also tasks you with getting off your bum and heading outdoors, but without the cute characters.)

Ingress already has a network of real-world locations set up to then spin an AR game around. Meanwhile, Harry Potter continues to be as huge a phenomenon as ever, with four more Fantastic Beasts films on the way.

This actually isn't the first time mention of this project has surfaced online - an IGN interview popped up last year referencing a Harry Potter project in the works at Niantic, before it was swiftly deleted from the internet.

We've contacted Warner Bros. for more information.

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