The Harry Potter series holds a special place in the hearts of millions, including mines. This world has already been presented to us in a number of different ways, most of which are absolutely fantastic; seven books, eight movies, and even a couple of theme park attractions. But, the enchanting wizarding world has failed us in one way; we still don’t have a truly memorable video game from the franchise, but I think now is the perfect time for that to change.
Rocksteady’s recent release Batman: Arkham Knight has received widespread critical praise, as did their previous two Batman games. Not only were all these games very good, but they also managed to set a new standard for video games based off of licensed franchises. Now we see games like Shadow of Mordor also receive widespread critical praise despite the predisposition many gamers once felt towards licensed games not so long ago. Rocksteady showed developers that a license to a preexisting franchise doesn’t mean you have to make a game based off of a movie. In fact, you probably shouldn’t make a game based off of a movie at all, and now that that mark has already been set, the world waits to see what Rocksteady is going to do next.
Well, judging from what people are saying on forums and in other discussions, it seems like many people expect Rocksteady to continue by making another super hero game. Although this idea is completely possible, after three Batman games I wouldn’t doubt that they’re already tired of making superhero games. What then? What kind of franchise can they reinvigorate just like they did with Batman? What fan base would be head over heels for a great video game based off of their favorite fantasy world? Next I envision a Harry Potter book falling out of a Rocksteady employee’s bag onto the conference table, and then everybody knows what they have to do.
It doesn’t take much time to realize that with the brilliant minds at Rocksteady behind the project, this game has the potential to be phenomenal. Just imagine a game that perfectly translates the spell casting we see in the Harry Potter movies into video game form. Imagine the full potential of aerial combat on brooms and Thestrals, with wizards firing spells and curses left and right. And just imagine the ability to immerse yourself back into the fantastical world of Harry Potter, but this time, not for however long a movie or book tells you that you can, but for as long as you’d like to.
Now there’s the question of what the game would actually be, but the answer to that is pretty much anything. Rocksteady can follow the idea of a game like Arkham Asylum and make the story linear, or they can even try to make the world more open like in Arkham Knight. The problem with an open world Harry Potter game is just where would it take place considering wizarding communities are so spaced out? They could of course go the Arkham Knight route and devise an excuse to depopulate the area of Muggles, but would that method work again without feeling overused is the big question. Because of this, it would be much easier to give us a more linear story so that it makes sense with the world, but at the same time I just really want an open world Harry Potter game so I hope they’d be able to make that happen.
The combat of a Harry Potter game would arguably be the most important aspect of the game. First off, Rocksteady would need to of course limit the amount of spells a player would be able to use because it’s would just feel too cluttered if you could use every jinx, spell, and curse in the universe. This would unfortunately mean that more obscure curses and jinxes would have to be left out, no matter how much you may have liked them in the books or movies. How would a player be able to choose, cast, and block spells is the next question. Honestly, I’ve got nothing, and that’s why I’m not a game designer. But, I believe that if anybody can make it work, it’s Rocksteady. One solution that I can envision is that the player would be given some sort of weapon wheel but with spells so that they can cycle through and pick what spell they’d like to cast at any given time. This really is only one of many ways that combat could work of course. With Harry Potter, the possibilities really are endless.
Now, the story itself would need to be its own stand-alone story, just like how the Arkham games didn’t follow a set story path. The way I envision it is that the game would take place with Harry as an adult. This leaves pretty much everything open because there wouldn’t be anything stopping the developers from going wherever they want with the plot, which is what Rocksteady does best. In the books, Harry always did dream of becoming an auror, and this profession would translate well into a video game. I can already see it; the Ministry of Magic as home base, contracts for Harry to take out in between missions, and a main story that is sure to be creative while still staying true to the franchise, much the way the Batman games were. Old villains would have their chances to resurface as well as new ones, and as we’ve seen with the Arkham Knight, Rocksteady has the ability to create new characters within these established franchises and still make them feel genuine.
The best part of all this is that it isn’t that far-fetched. Rocksteady is a studio owned by Warner Brothers, and Warner Brothers also owns the film rights to the Harry Potter books. Although these may only be the film rights, I think many of us can agree they did a phenomenal job with those rights and therefore may be able to gain the rights to make a video game based off of the Harry Potter universe. The practicality of the situation makes the prospect of a Rocksteady Harry Potter game all the more tantalizing. This would really be a match made in heaven (a.k.a. really clean King’s Cross Station) and would be a dream come true for millions of Harry Potter fans around the world.