Fellow muggles, with Lego Harry Potter just around the corner, it was confirmed a few days ago by EA that Harry Potter will be back in two licensed video games to coincide with the final two movies, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2. Expect the first game to come out this fall. This is so exciting! What will happen to Harry? What will--oh right, that book came out three years ago. Well, maybe the games will be good, right? Right?
Unlike the previous Harry Potter games which focused on puzzle solving, Quidditch, and being a terrible game in general, this game's gonna be different. EA Bright Light VP Head of Production Jonathan Bunney said:
“The final Harry Potter adventure has given us the opportunity to make a darker and more action-oriented game than we have before. We believe we are creating a Harry Potter game that the HD console gaming generation will appreciate and enjoy. We have built new technology specifically to allow us to prove that magic is a truly potent force and, in this game, players will need to use all their skills if they want to survive.”
A new technology, eh? Oh boy, I hope it's nanobots!
For all of you who've read the books (and why would you be reading this if you haven't?), Jonny here has a point: the seventh book was the most action-packed and perhaps darkest of atmosphere, so the video game should follow suit. Only one small problem here, EA -- licensed games suck worse than movies based on books. You don't have to have played all the Harry Potter games on all the systems to see that Metacritic's highest score for any Harry Potter game was a 77. And although that's not too bad, all the other games scored much less than this. Why can't we have a Harry Potter: Azkaban Asylum kind of deal?
In general, making a movie/book-based game enjoyable means a lot of quality gameplay, which will always have to be flushed out from the various scenes in the book or movie. However, by extending action sequences to create more gameplay you always detract from the overall story. Furthermore, licensed games tend to add new story elements as well, which detract from the original vision even further. But to pull back on the gameplay in the hopes of developing a more immersive story will lead to complaints of shortness and lazy game design. A good licensed game always achieves a delicate balance.
With a game that's being released on all non-magical systems, EA is going to have to give one hell of a romp in order to break the big 80 in Metacritic's scoring system. Is that even possible with the buffoonery that occurs when developers turn movies into games?
What do you think? Did you buy the other Potters? Are you dead-set on buying this next game? Do you think it's possible for a Harry Potter game to be that good?