Gamers and Harry Potter fans across the world were shocked late yesterday evening when people began stumbling across and sharing what appears to be off-screen camera footage of a leaked Harry Potter game. The original source video, which has since been removed from YouTube, was a very professional-looking showcase of large, high-quality open-world game full of familiar Harry Potter concepts and seemed very authentic. Sources since then have confirmed the leak, while Warner Bros. Interactive has taken the original video down via copyright strike, adding more weight to the possibility of the leak being absolutely true.
The video, which is still available in several places across the internet, starts in the familiar Great Hall of Hogwarts and takes the audience on quite the journey, through various areas of the castle and out into what seems to be the Forbidden Forest, as well as a town that one would guess to be Hogsmeade. Along the way, we also get to see a taste of the general game’s setup as it leads you into the life of a Hogwarts student. Players are allowed to create a custom character, which is then shown advancing through learning magic, taking classes, and freely exploring what seems to be a map of the grounds. If this truly is the open-world RPG Potter fans have been waiting for, this leak will undoubtedly have millions of fans frothing at the mouth for the true, definitive Hogwarts experience.
Notably, the game seems setup to show a more mature, possibly darker Potter experience than many fans and most gamers would be used to; the footage is rife with third-person combat, including the devastating use of some powerful spells and what seems to be at least one enemy death. The magic shown varies from the expected Lumos, a basic light spell, through a telekinetic utility spell and up to very explosive combat magic, which is rendered in stunning fashion blowing several areas of the environment apart. The physics and destruction modelling is top-notch, and if the combat in the game is anything like what players can expect in the final product, it’s sure to be a hit. The more mature theme for the game also fits, since we’re now more than twenty years into the classic book series and countless Potter fans will have grown up alongside the titular Wizard himself.
The original video leak was accompanied by a very put-together description, which was stated to be something of an official presentation-style write-up of the end product. In it, the main character is described as a fifth-year level student, who joins Hogwarts late at some point in the 1800’s. He or she is described as having the special ability to track some remains of an ancient power and is said to be able to craft potions and master new magic over the source of the game, much as one would expect. The game is also described as a true RPG--with a deep, unique narrative, a branching storyline, and a completely customizable Witch or Wizard down to the school House you pick and whether or not you lean more good or evil over the course of the game.
As of the writing, sources at Rocksteady Studios have denied involvement with the game, despite years of speculation and fan demand after their work on the Arkham games, however, they are on the possible short list of developing studios, alongside Warner Bros. acquisition Avalanche Software.
Regardless, at the end of the day and on the heels of the leak being confirmed as something real to keep your eye on, there’s one thing we can be sure of. Game-loving Harry Potter fans have another major title to look forward to. And hopefully, not another one loaded with bad mobile practices and microtransactions.