Remember Pokémon GO, the augmented reality game that was supposed to change how people play forever, but instead led kids to a dead body, distracted a father from his kid falling off a balcony, spied on your Google activity, and might have caused billions of dollars worth of property damage? Well the company behind it, Niantic, Inc., is back with a Harry Potter-themed game aiming to "put magic in the hands of players worldwide." What could go wrong?
A new teaser for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite dropped on Wednesday morning, showing a young woman apparating—which is essentially teleporting, for all you muggles out there—into an alleyway, magicking a poster onto a wall, and disapparating away. "The Wizarding World is at risk of exposure," the poster reads. "We need your help." The whole thing looks like it was shot by a security camera, a nice throwback to Niantic's first big project, a cult favorite AR spy game called Ingress that pitted two shadowy teams against each other in a worldwide battle for territory.
The poster sets up a plot far less benign than Pokémon GO's charge to catch 'em all. Who's trying to expose the Wizarding World? How high are the stakes here? According to the press release, players will "unravel a global mystery, cast spells, and encounter fantastic beasts and iconic characters along the way," though it's unclear what that'll actually look like, gameplay wise.
Honestly, that sounds like it could be dope. Pokémon GO got a lot of crap for not working a lot of the time, but if Niantic has ironed out the kinks that made it difficult to play for disabled people, rural communities, and people who like to do stupid things in dangerous places, maybe this game could actually be, well, game-changing. At the very least, it'll probably bring joy to people who are still obsessed with Pokémon Go for some reason.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a collaboration between Niantic, Inc., Warner Bros. Games, and Portkey Games, will drop in 2019.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.