Earlier this week, new outfit Portkey Games revealed plans for a second official Harry Potter title, this time with Jam City. Hogwarts Mystery will be a mobile RPG where you can live seven years at Hogwarts, learning magic in class and duelling in corridors.
This comes just a month after Portkey revealed it's partnering with Niantic to make a Pokemon GO-style wand-'em-up, Wizards Unite. It seems that 20 years after JK Rowling published her first book in the Potterverse, love for The Boy Who Lived and his chums remains at frenzy levels.
But is it all a bit too much? Does 2018 really need both Hogwarts Mystery and Wizards Unite? Will they be any good, and which of them will be best? Once again we hit the Reply All button and get our gaming experts to give their definitive analysis on what we know so far:
Of all the big pop culture hitters of the past few years, Harry Potter feels like the one that’s been the least exploited on mobile. Not exploited in a bad way necessarily, but there are tons of Star Wars and Marvel games on the App Store, while HP has always felt a bit conspicuous in its absence.
Whether this new push to get Potter in your pocket is a good thing is hard to say right now. I’m probably most interested in Wizards Unite, because it sounds like a game that understands how mobile works. An RPG can go either way. In modern mobile parlance RPG doesn’t really mean anything, so Hogwarts Mystery could end up as a tapper or a sprawling strategy experience. We just don’t know.
But the wizarding world is one that’s rich with interesting locations and characters. So I guess what’s most intriguing right now is seeing how the games can replicate the feeling of wonder that the books got down so well. I mean, neither of the games is going to be as good as Order of the Phoenix for Xbox 360, but if they can get close to that level of perfection (shut up it’s an amazing game) then there’s reason to be hopeful.
Pocket Gamer news editor
Between Wizards Unite and Hogwarts Mystery, I'm annoyingly interested in both of them in different ways. On one hand you've got an AR game that gets you out of the house and enables you to combine the real world and wizarding world. On the other, you've got a mobile RPG which lets you experience Hogwarts through story-telling and (I assume) mini games.
Of the two of them I reckon Wizards Unite will be longer-lasting and more universally accepted than Hogwarts Mystery. After all, we all know Pokemon GO and we know it's a formula that works. Not everyone's got the patience or drive to get down and dirty with a mobile RPG, especially if it's free to play and incorporates time-based elements - if you have to check back in four hours for a potion to be done, for example.
I reckon both games will be successful because of the franchise and its fans, but one will definitely outshine the other.
Read more: here's everything our news hounds have gathered about Wizards Unite so far.
Pocket Gamer editor
My head completely agrees with Harry (of the Slater kind) that Wizards Unite will take advantage of mobile’s unique features. But, my heart is more up for Hogwarts Mystery. I’m one of those kids still waiting for my letter, and not only will I finally get that, I’ll also get to spend seven whole years at the magical school of witchcraft and wizardry.
But then I’m biased. I didn’t get on with Pokemon GO because I’m an antisocial gamer. I don’t really want to wander around the real world bumping into other “wizards” casting “spells” and finding out where Diagon Alley actually is. Okay, maybe just that last part. But the point is, I don’t really want to advertise the fact I’m a massive nerd while in public.
Conversely, I really do want to explore the wonderful world of Hogwarts in full 3D, with my very own wizard avatar dressed up in robes. I can’t wait to get sorted into a house, to learn how to make stuff levitate, and mix potions that will turn me into a cat. I can’t wait to do it all so well that I get a nice XP boost and I level up as a wizard. I’m a total sucker for RPGs and this could prove to be the ultimate one. I want to go to Hogwarts.
Pocket Gamer features editor
As someone who has never seen, read or played a Harry Potter film/book/game in his life, I have no affinity with or knowledge of the franchise.
So I'm only really interested in the other, non-Harry Potter elements at play here. What have Niantic and Jam City done in the past that would make me take interest in what they're doing next?
On that front, Niantic wins hands down. Pokemon GO and Ingress were both intriguing, forward-thinking games that captured the imaginations of all kinds of gamers. I trust that they'll carry on the good work for Wizards Unite.
More importantly, Wizards Unite is the only game of the two that I might actually be interested in playing, just to see what it does to push AR gaming forward. Hogwarts Mystery, on the other hand, sounds like it'll be the kind of generic (though doubtless polished) casual RPG we've seen plenty of before.
Read more: check out how Jon Mundy thinks Wizards Unite might play.
With two new licensed titles on the way from two developers with some mobile pedigree, it seems that Harry Potter continues to be one of the hottest IPs around.
Concerns have been raised about whether we need both of these projects on mobile, and in all honesty I don't see that as a problem. One is an AR game from the people who brought us the magical - see what I did there? - Pokemon GO, while the other is more of a traditional RPG-esque experience.
They offer two entirely different experiences. Want to explore the real world and see the magic all around us (something we need in these dark times), give Niantic's Wizard's Unite a go. Want to play through a narrative experience and develop your character, be sure to check out Hogwarts Mystery. License aside, these games actually have very little in common, so the risk of crossover is minimal.
One thing is for sure - with the latest Fantastic Beasts film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, coming out late next year, both of these games are sure to be big hits.
PocketGamer.biz senior editor
The universe of JK Rowling's wizarding world is big enough to be the basis for both Hogwarts Mystery and Wizards Unite, plus potentially even more mobile games. It's an IP as big as Star Wars, Marvel and Pokemon with an audience young and old, offering the potential for a variety of different experiences aimed at those demographics.
The premise of these games is completely different: one is a location-based augmented reality game with social at its core, the other is, though details are still light, an RPG.
The games sound different enough to make it difficult to judge one if one will be better than the other, it's comparing chalk and cheese. But I can tell you now that Wizards Unite will be the biggest game of the two, potentially on the same level as Pokemon GO. It may even take the place of Pokemon GO for many.
Steel Media CEO
When you think about how many games other brands can support - be they movie licenses like Star Wars or generic "brands" like football - then the question is really why aren’t there a lot more.
I imagine the games will be very different experiences too.
Can’t see any reason why Harry Potter won’t suit mobile, the whole concept of two worlds co-existing (muggles and the wizarding world) seems ideally suited to AR especially, and there’s a lot to explore from the existing books and movies alone.
I would perhaps question how engaged even hardcore fans will be collecting lesser known magical beasts or characters after the more familiar ones dry out; Pokemon has a sizeable advantage in that respect as collecting the creatures is absolutely core to the game and brand. But I’d expect both games to fair very well in their first six to 12 months at least.
Read more: Chris's analysis of the Wizards Unite announcement.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Which of these games do you think will thrive and which will dive? Let us know if you agree with our crew in the comment thread below!
Want more Harry Potter game goodness? Check out our list of lessons we think Wizards Unite needs to learn from Pokemon GO; our brainstorm on what creatures will make it into the collect-'em-up AR game; and our suggestions for five games to play while you wait for Harry Potter to come to mobile.