EA Games has had the Harry Potter license for as long as I can remember. I own the games on GameCube and Xbox 360, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed all of them. The best one in my opinion was Half-Blood Prince—it succeeded because it still took place on the grounds of Hogwarts. Once EA developed both parts of The Deathly Hallows, the—for lack of a better term—magic left the series because they turned the titles into an almost Gears of War style game. The first games in the series garnered critical and financial success, and EA kept the series alive, but with the poor reception of the last two games in the series, there seems to be no new game set in Harry Potter’s world. Recently, I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and I wondered why EA hasn’t hopped onto this property. As I sat on my couch mesmerized by this new Harry Potter tale, I began to imagine what type of game could be made from the movie, ultimately deciding that it could be an amazing new title from EA.
First off, the film has an amazing lead character, Newt Scamander, who is an eccentric, endearing wizard. I wouldn’t mind playing a game with him as the lead. Perhaps they could start the game before the beginning of his journey in New York City so that Potter-heads could see what he was up to and what led him to the Big Apple. The developers could also take us through the movie’s story and use techniques from prior games, including learning spells to use to capture beasts and fight off the American Ministry of Magic. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a few battles here and there, but that wouldn’t be the main selling point—capturing the magical beasts would be what sells this title. People have been clamoring for a console-based Pokémon game, and since Nintendo won’t deliver the goods, EA can capitalize on the beast capturing and turn the title into its very own Pokémon series.
EA could do this in a variety of ways. Since the game is set in New York during the 1920s, they could have Newt running around the city attempting to catch all of his creatures. I know that only about three escaped from his bag in the movie, but for the game, it could be set up like a Ghostbusters scenario, such as when Peck releases all the ghosts into New York after shutting down the power grid. The game could play out like this: you must find all of your creatures and face them in non-lethal battle to get them to return to your case. You would have to use your wits by learning their mating calls or certain dances, or you would be challenged by battling them against other fantastic creatures. This battle system could be turn based, but I’d prefer it to be more like Parasite Eve’s battle system. Newt, or the creatures, can move freely around the designated battle area but cannot attack until your meter fills. This gives it the feeling of an old-fashioned, turn-based battler, but removes the dumb stand-there-and-get-hit portion of the mechanic.
As you get more creatures into your bag, you are able to level up and use the beast’s magic to improve your wand, your coat, and so on with a crafting system within the suitcase. Imagine being able to walk around the inside of your suitcase and grab a fallen feather or an egg from a beast to upgrade your wand to defend against other spells. I know that’s not how it actually works in the books or the world, but it would be a pretty sweet mechanic in the game. Plus, if you get the creatures affinity for you high enough, it will come to your aid by giving you special items that make it easier to catch other missing creatures. I think that it’d also be good fun to interact with the creatures while in the bag, feed them, and groom them—take a few hints from Nintendogs.
I know I would buy a game like this on day one. I miss good Harry Potter games, and I think that Fantastic Beasts would make a great addition to the library that EA has already created. The mix of an open world New York set in the ‘20s, creature catching, magic, and creature tending could make for an amazing experience. I haven’t played a Harry Potter game in probably seven years, and I would love to break out my wand again in this amazing world.