Harry Potter video games

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Harry Potter video games
Cover art for Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone
PC box art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first release in the series
Genre(s)Action, adventure, puzzle
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Composer(s)James Hannigan, Jeremy Soule
Platform(s)
Spin-offsLego Harry Potter

The Harry Potter video games are multiple collections of video games based on the Harry Potter franchise originally created by J.K. Rowling. They are published by Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.[a] Many of the Harry Potter inspired video games are tie-ins to the novels and films of the same name. The main series features a video game for every novel, as well as two for the finale. There are multiple distinct versions for individual games.

After the success of the initial games, Warner Bros. Interactive created the publishing label Portkey Games and expanded the series to include a pair of Lego video games. The series is known for its use of augmented reality outside of the main series of games, including Book of Spells and Book of Potions using the PlayStation Eye.

The games in the main series received generally mixed reviews from critics, while the Lego games were both critically and commercially successful.

Development[edit]

Despite the games having a wide variety of developers, Electronic Arts developed all games from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Novel adaptations[edit]

Release timeline
2001Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
2002Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2003
2004Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2005Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2006
2007Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix
2008
2009Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
2010Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
2011Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Generally, the video game adaptations of the Harry Potter series were designed to be released to coincide with the release schedule of the film series. The first game in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", for North American release) was developed by five different teams, creating five different versions, for different consoles. The games were developed by Argonaut Games[1] (PlayStation), Aspyr[2] (Mac OS), Griptonite Games[3] (Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance), and KnowWonder[4] (personal computer). Two years later, Warthog Games released versions for sixth generation consoles (GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox).[5] The game was released after the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and used many of the same assets.[6] The game featured puzzles aimed at "eight- to fourteen-year-olds" and aimed to capture the mood of the novel of the same name.[7]

During the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, developer Eurocom was brought on board to create the sixth generation console releases (GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox) as well as the Game Boy Advance release. This version included new assets specifically for the Chamber of Secrets and free-roam flying on a broomstick on the PlayStation 2 release, which was not possible on any other release. This version removed many of the puzzle sections found in the first game and replaced them with action sections and boss fights. The PC version, however, many of the same assets as those in Philosopher's Stone, and retained a more puzzle-oriented gameplay.[8]

The release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban switched genre to a role-playing video game (RPG). GameSpot likened the game to Chrono Trigger and Pokémon.[9] The third installment featured separate games for the PC version and a console release, this time made by EA Bright Light (EA's United Kingdom subsidiary). Both of these versions made Harry, Hermione and Ron playable characters. In the PC release, Buckbeak and Hedwig were made playable as well.[10]

The multiplayer component. In this screenshot, three players control the three protagonists casting a spell.
In the Goblet of Fire, players can play multiplayer, as all three protagonists.

Following Prisoner of Azkaban, EA took charge of creating all versions of the game. The PC and Mac releases were developed as ports of the console release. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the style from previous titles was reduced to a more linear, level based system, as the character followed certain scenes from the film. Multiplayer components were factored into the game's release: up to three players from the same console.[11]

During the development of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the development team from EA Bright Light had more interaction with author J.K. Rowling when attempting to create playable card games for the series. The rules that were created were later revealed to be the official rules in canon.[12] This release was the first in the series to include motion capture from actors in the film series, including Rupert Grint and Evanna Lynch.[12] The game made a return to the free-roaming style of earlier games.

In 2009, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released after originally being planned for 2008. It was pushed back six months to be released with the film of the same name.[13] The release removed the multiplayer component of the previous two games; Ron and Ginny Weasley were still playable, but only in certain locations.[14]

The final two games in the main series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2, take place away from Hogwarts, and features locations such as The Ministry of Magic. These games use a stealth and combat mechanic similar to those found in modern first person shooters. Jonathan Bunney, head of Production at EA Bright Light, stated that the final two installments would be "darker and more action-oriented game(s)."[15]

Other[edit]

Release timeline
2001Lego Creator: Harry Potter
2002Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2003Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
2004
2005Harry Potter: Find Scabbers
2006
2007
2008Harry Potter: Mastering Magic
2009
2010Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
2011Lego Harry Potter: Years 5–7
2012Harry Potter for Kinect
Book of Spells
2013Book of Potions
2014
2015
2016Lego Dimensions
2017
2018Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
2019Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

In 2002, following the release of Chamber of Secrets, EA Games engaged game developer Magic Pockets, who created the GBA version, to produce a video game based on Quidditch.[16]

Due to the release schedule of the Prisoner of Azkaban film, there was no main series release in 2003. Instead, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup was released in its place. Previous games had featured Quidditch but only focused on Potter as the seeker; Quidditch World Cup put players in control of the team's "chasers" and the rest of the team's players via mini-games.[17] The game featured both matches played at Hogwarts, and matches played internationally.

In 2010, following a release of a special Potter-themed Lego set, Lego Harry Potter, Traveller's Tales announced that a Lego Harry Potter video game would be released, similar to releases for Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.[18] The series was split into two: Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4 was released in 2010 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5–7 was released in 2011.

In 2012 and 2013 two augmented reality games were created, titled Book of Spells and Book of Potions respectively. These were both released for PlayStation 3.[19] These games used the PlayStation Move controller, as well as the Wonderbook accessory for the PlayStation Eye. The Wonderbook accessory was brought out in conjuncture with Book of Spells, allowing players to see an augmented reality version of real life books.[20]

In 2017, two new themed character packs for a Toys-to-life console video game Lego Dimensions were released. One contained Lego figurines of Harry, Voldemort, mini Ford Anglia and mini Hogwarts Express, while the other one contained figurines of Hermione and Buckbeak. At the same time, Portkey games partnered with Jam City to release Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery in March 2018 for iOS and Android.[21] The game featured a new spin on the Potter universe by setting the game before the book series, but still at Hogwarts. The game featured similar components to those of other freemium games, such as wait timers, and microtransactions.[22]

Following the release of Pokémon Go, Niantic announced Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a similar augmented reality game. The game will allow players to see the game world through a smartphone.[23]

Collections[edit]

In addition to game releases, there have been collection titles for the releases of Harry Potter games. In 2005, World of Harry Potter was released for PC, containing all of the first three novel games, and the Quiddich World Cup game.[24] In 2007, a PlayStation 2 collection known as Harry Potter Collection was released which included the first three games.

Gameplay[edit]

In Harry Potter games, gameplay was often set around puzzles, although in some games, this is sometimes lessened in favour of more action-oriented scenes. Releases in the series generally follow the plot of the associated novel. The protagonist learns spells or other techniques from classes within Hogwarts school, which are often used to solve the puzzles at hand. While some are similar to those used in other Harry Potter media (such as "Wingardium Leviosa", used for levitating objects), other spells are unique to the video games (such as "Flipendo", described as the "knockback jinx", an attacking spell, used to push objects, or "Spongefy", to make an object turn into a bounce pad[25]).

Earlier games in the series contained "secrets" which were a countable list of hidden extras. The games contained "beans", based on "Bertie Botts every flavour beans", used as currency, and Famous Witch or Wizard cards, used as collectables.[26] However, in later games (specifically the final two entries), entries employ first person shooter and stealth sections.[27]

Releases[edit]

Titles in the series of Harry Potter games
Year Title Platform(s) Acquired label(s)
Console Computer Handheld
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • PlayStation
  • PlayStation 2
  • Xbox
  • GameCube
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Game Boy Color
  • Game Boy Advance
2003 Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup
  • PlayStation 2
  • Xbox
  • GameCube
  • Windows
  • Game Boy Advance
  • PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits
  • Xbox Platinum Family Hits
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • PlayStation 2
  • Xbox
  • GameCube
  • Windows
  • Game Boy Advance
  • PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits
  • Xbox Platinum Family Hits
  • GameCube Player's Choice
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • PlayStation 2
  • Xbox
  • GameCube
  • Windows
  • PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Nintendo DS
  • PlayStation Portable
N/A
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Wii
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
N/A
2010 Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Wii
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Nintendo DS
  • PlayStation Portable
N/A
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Wii
  • Windows
  • Nintendo DS
N/A
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Wii
  • Windows
  • Nintendo DS
N/A
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5–7
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Wii
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
N/A
Harry Potter for Kinect
  • Xbox 360
N/A N/A N/A
2012 Book of Spells
  • PlayStation 3
N/A N/A N/A
2013 Book of Potions
  • PlayStation 3
N/A N/A N/A
2016 Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World N/A N/A N/A
2018 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery[28] N/A N/A
  • iOS
  • Android
N/A
2019 Harry Potter: Wizards Unite N/A N/A
  • iOS
  • Android
N/A

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Novel adaptations[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

The Harry Potter video game series received mixed reviews from critics. Nintendo consoles (specifically the Wii) scored higher marks than other console releases. According to media review site Metacritic, the series received its best response for the Chamber of Secrets game. Despite the game being created differently for different systems, the game was rated higher consoles across the board against every other entry in the series.

The series generally received acclaim for its representation of the media it is based on. Detroit Free Press gave the Goblet of Fire GameCube version four out of four stars and said, "This is a masterful video game because it can be enjoyed on many levels. Younger players can simply explore this graphically rich Harry Potter world and succeed. Older players will enjoy manipulating the magic by choosing spells and skills and casting magic together with friends."[78] However, The Sydney Morning Herald gave the game three out of five stars and stated that its highlight "is a brief but thrilling broomstick chase against a fire-breathing dragon. An underwater interlude is less successful, although it provides variety."[79]

Frank Provo of GameSpot was very positive about the Prisoner of Azkaban GBA game's recreation of the novel; saying "The main thing to keep in mind is that Prisoner of Azkaban on the GBA offers a fun way for Harry Potter fans to step into the shoes of their favorite wizard-in-training and experience firsthand everything that happened in the third installment of the series."[9] Gerald Villoria of GameSpot praised the developers efforts, for the PlayStation version, in re-creating the Hogwarts castle and different looking characters, but said the despite the graphics being like "extremely jagged polygons."[80]

Later entries the series received severely lower scores on Metacritic, as critics rated Deathly Hallows – Part 1 being the poorest reviewed. The Official Xbox Magazine stated the game had "so much wrong with this game that we don't have space to list it all"[81] and Kristine Steimer from IGN calling that game not "worthy of the Harry Potter branding." before giving the gameplay for the game 2 out of 10, stating "Between the camera breaking frequently, boring shoot-out sequences and uninspired stealth missions, the game gets worse and worse as you play."[27]

Other games[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5–7
Book of Spells 72%[99]
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery 43%[100]

Other games in based around Harry Potter have been generally praised, especially the Lego Harry Potter games. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 specifically scored well: Metacritic scored the game at 79%, for its PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox release.[87] Greg Miller of IGN praised the game for its "gorgeous environments, clever use of the famed spells, legitimate humor and adorable references"[101] and called it a "love letter to fans of the Boy Who Lived."[101] The Official Nintendo Magazine gave the Wii and DS version 80%, saying that it was "one of the best Harry Potter games ever", however it lacked originality compared to previous Lego video games.[102]

Besides the Lego Harry Potter titles, two titles were released for the PlayStation 3, using augmented reality. Book of Potions and Book of Spells both built for the Wonderbook, received mixed reviews from critics. They criticized the game's short length, but commended use of the augmented reality within the games. Alex Simmons of IGN commented that Book of Spells was "shallow and rarely compelling", but called the technology behind it "fantastic".[103] Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, also released in 2018, received media backlash for its use of microtransactions, despite the game being free to play. David Jagnaeux from IGN Africa reviewed the game, but called it "awful", that the "gratuitous microtransactions" that "actively prevented" him from enjoying the game.[104]

Awards[edit]

In 2002, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was nominated for three D.I.C.E. Awards in the "Console Family", "Original Musical Composition" and "PC Family" categories.[105] Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 won the Kotaku "best adapted game" award in 2010, with Brian Crecente proclaiming it to be the "Best Lego Game to Date."[106] The game was nominated for two awards in the 7th British Academy Games Awards, in the "family" and "handheld" sections.[107] In addition, it was nominated for "Best Adapted Video Game" for the Spike video game awards in 2010.[108] The musical score of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Jeremy Soule received a BAFTA Award for Original Music in 2004.[109]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince received a BAFTA nomination in 2010 for James Hannigan's music score,[110] and won an International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) Award for best video game score in 2009.[111]

Book of Spells received a nomination for "game innovation" at the BAFTA Awards in 2013.[112] As of 2014, The Harry Potter video game series was stated to have sold $1.5 billion in sales.[113]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Harry Potter video games series denotes only games that are named after the original seven novels.

References[edit]

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