Niantic to release Pokémon Go style Harry Potter mobile game this week

Harry Potter Wizard's Unite
Harry Potter: Wizard's Unite will see players hunting out magical artifacts and beast in the real world, like Buckbeak here

Pokémon Go creator Niantic has announced that the release date for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, its latest free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game, will be as soon as this Friday, 21 June.

As in the phenomenally successful app Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will have its players travelling to real-world locations to hunt out monsters that appear on their device's screen, only this time from JK Rowling's wizarding world.

While Niantic had previously announced that the game would release in 2019 --and has been in open beta in Australia and New Zealand-- few were expecting the game to be released so soon.

It does, however, tally close to Pokémon Go's release at the start of July in 2016. The summer months were kind to the pocket monster hunting app, as it quickly became a global phenomenon. By the start of 2019, Pokémon Go has been downloaded over 1bn times and has made over $2.3bn in revenue for Niantic and The Pokémon Company.

As in Pokemon Go, players will use GPS to travel the real world and find 'Foundables' that appear on their smartphone.

Niantic and Warner Bros, its partner on Wizards Unite, will hope that this Harry Potter themed version will garner similar attention this summer. The game builds on the mechanics and location data in Pokémon Go, but has its own twists on the concept. Rather than joining a team, each player of the game works for the 'Statue of Secrecy Task Force', tasked with hunting down 'Foundable' artifacts and creatures littered across the world that must be made safe.

The game is looking to add more depth to the gameplay, with three upgradeable classes of wizard, challneging dungeons to find and more involving combat and spell casting. There will also be more of a narrative angle to Wizards Unite, with players uncovering the mystery behind the malevolent 'Calamity'.

Whether this complexity will count for or against Wizards Unite in light of Pokémon Go's 'catch 'em all' simplicity remains to be seen. But with today's surprise announcement, players won't have to wait long to find out.