Alex likes to think he is a writer, but he hasn't proven himself yet. So he begins his journey by picking one of three starter articles provided by Professor Croak and sets forth into the world. Wait does this seem familiar to you? Me too...
Yesterday we saw a leak of an unknown Harry Potter game, suspected to be in development by Avalanche Games. This leak definitely appears to be for a console game, as the leak appears to contain footage from an Xbox One. Some of the spells in the top left corner are labeled with A, B, and RT, for the A button, B button, and Right Trigger. While there is a lot of mystery surrounding this game, it does appear to be a legitimate leak. Eurogamer claims the game is real and the video is genuine, and this is inspiring a lot of excitement.
The video itself is shot with what appears to be a cell phone, and there is clearly a mouse cursor visible in several parts of the video. It comes from Reddit, so the legitimacy of the video is in question, and the user who posted it has not really done much to legitimize it. He claims to have found it through a market research program. We cannot confirm the footage to be authentic at this time. I do believe it is real, given the discrepancies in the video (menus being titled with file name format) and the high degree of detail in environments. I can’t help but be reminded of the Deadpool footage leak before the movie was officially greenlit. It would take a lot of work to fake this, and the timing for market research relative to the apparent completion of the game seems reasonable.
Opening with an entrance to the great dining hall, we see a vast array of visual influences from the movies. The floating candles look fantastic, and the costuming is in line with the established uniforms of Hogwarts. A quick shot of the front staircase brings us to a view of a character creation screen. It does appear unfinished but there are clear options for face type, skin color and eye color visible. There is also a body type menu, letting you select your gender and proportions. Without speculating too much, we also have what appears to be hair options, eye/face feature options, a clear scar options menu, and a hat, which is safe to assume is the selection screen for your House.
Some brief spells are displayed, primarily transfiguration. We see the greenhouse holding some rather mean looking plants; one of them even biting at the player. A female creating a potion is also briefly shown, before fading to some exterior shots displaying a few locations. We do see a map with a cursor scrolling across it, possibly being a fast travel menu and system. There is also a quest based user interface on the heads up display, showing quest markers and a quest description on the side of the screen, but I can’t quite make out what it says.
Upon entering the marked cave on the screen, the darkness is illuminated by a spell (presumably Lumos) and the action begins. A quick series of spells move around some pages, and a large swirling ball of magic is busy being mysterious. A fire spell burns some cobwebs (oh joy, impassable cobwebs!) and combat begins. A list of spells displayed in the top left of the screen reads Lumos (which creates light), Alohomora (which unlocks doors and windows) and Reparo (which can repair broken objects), so we could expect a limited selection of spells in each situation.
After destroying a door that is being barricaded by creatures that might be goblins and murdering one of them (by accident?) we are shown a new selection of spells; Expulso, Stupefy and Depulso (which cause explosions, stuns opponents, and a banishing spell respectively); each of which flashes when used. A few well-aimed spells crumble an arched structure, crushing the goblins beneath it. After this we see one last set of spells; Levioso (a levitating spell), Expelliarmus (a disarming spell) and Depulso; hinting at a customizable spell selection in some capacity. Wildlife, exterior shots and a dragon’s skeleton bring us to the inevitable magic fight. It appears to be another student that the conflict involves, and a shot into a barrel causes an explosion, but the main character still takes a hit, recoiling briefly.
The leaked video closes with Reparo being used to repair a bridge. A Troll with a large health bar, implying a significant boss battle, is the final shot of the leak, but it appears that the ending was cut off. There is no fade to black or title card, giving the impression that the video was taken hastily to prevent being caught. All in all, it is a rather dense one minute leak. I won’t speak to the validity of the leak, as Eurogamer covered that thoroughly, but it does appear that we will be getting a darker, open world Harry Potter game. I am concerned about the ‘create your own character’ approach, as games told through this type of storytelling often struggle. I certainly hope we get fully voice-acted characters in the vein of Mass Effect. The combat looks interesting with destroyable environments and interesting enemies.
By far the trickiest aspect of this leak is trying to piece together where in the timeline this game will take place. If it is pre-Potter, will we see the rise of Voldemort? Will it attempt to go even further back, describing the first year of Hogwarts? I hope not, as this somewhat reduces the stakes of the storytelling. If it is pre-Potter, we know Hogwarts will be standing by the end of it all, and if it is during the Potter era, we know things will end up alright. Personally, I hope it is post-Potter, with references to the books and movies sprinkled in for a good measure, or interacting with Potter in his Ministry of Magic position.
Alternatively, this may be an alternate universe based Hogwarts, given that we don’t see any familiar faces. Hopefully, we get an official trailer soon, more fully illuminating this world. At the end of the day I think we can all hope it will tell a good story because based on this leak, the gameplay won’t be the problem. We’ll keep this updated when more news is released.