Harry Potter may be the most success film franchise in history, but Harry’s video game legacy is substantially less sterling. In fact, the studio most recently responsible for turning Harry’s big screen exploits into playable adventures, Bright Light, was shuttered at the beginning of the year.
Now the Harry Potter license has moved from Electronic Arts to Warner Bros. Interactive, and naturally, a new game is on the way. Harry Potter for Kinect, from developer Eurocom, covers the entirety of the Harry Potter film series, from Sorcerer’s Stone right on through to Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The game’s debut trailer (above) offers a picture of what players can expect from Harry Potter for Kinect when it arrives this Fall.
Despite the checkered history of the Harry Potter games, one early title stands out. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was, oddly enough, not actually based on the film, but rather on the book. Featuring gameplay that was heavily inspired by Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda games, Chamber of Secrets remains (at least in my mind) the very best of the Harry Potter games (aside from the two excellent LEGO Harry Potter titles). Why bring that up? Because Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was developed by Eurocom (GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, 007 Legends) the same studio working on Harry Potter for Kinect.
So, a developer with a solid track record, plus one of the most coveted licences in all of entertainment. What could possibly go wrong? Fair or not, Kinect Star Wars serves as the cautionary example here — though how much the two titles will have in common remains to be seen. Kinect Star Wars wrapped a series of mini-games up in Star Wars finery and, more or less, called it a day. Harry Potter for Kinect goes much deeper by recreating actual scenes from the films — with spot-on, if a bit waxy, character models (I can’t help but wonder if Richard Harris’ Dumbledore will appear early in the game) and faithful recreations of the series’ settings .
On the other hand, the trailer and accompanying screenshots do suggest that the actions players will be carrying out might not be that far removed from minigames: flying a broom, catching the Golden Snitch, dueling with wands and replanting mandrakes. The concern is that Kinect control means that player interaction in any of these events will have to be kept extremely simple, robbing the game of depth. For that matter, eight films worth of material is a lot to cover in a single game.
According the the press release announcing Harry Potter for Kinect, players will be able to cast spells with both gestures and voice commands. As seen in the trailer, Kinect will allow players to experience the game as digitized facsimiles of themselves, though for some portions, they’ll be assuming the identities of “relevant characters,” meaning Harry, Ron, or Hermione. For households with multiple Harry Potter fans, cooperative and competitive modes will be available.
Ranters, what’s your take on this? Can Harry Potter for Kinect deliver where Kinect Star Wars (and many other Harry Potter games) failed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Harry Potter for Kinect is due this Fall, exclusively for Xbox 360 and Kinect.
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