Niantic, known for Pokémon Go, has been working with WB Games on a new augmented reality project set in the Harry Potter universe, called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Today, Niantic officially made an open beta of the game available in Australia and New Zealand for both iOS and Android users.
In the game, players become recruits of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force and must investigate and contain a "Calamity" that has befallen the wizarding world. To that end, players must cast spells and collect artifacts and memories, and rescue characters to level up, all with the goal of keeping magic hidden from muggles.
The collecting mechanic is similar to Pokémon Go, with players locating magical artifacts instead of Pokémon, and using spells rather than Pokéballs to capture them.
Niantic notes that in the beta version of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite the features, available languages, design, and overall appearance are not final, and the product might be buggy and unstable at times. The idea of the beta is to get feedback from players so that the developers can improve the game experience.
The open beta launch in Australia and New Zealand follows a similar pattern to Pokémon Go, which was initially released in the two countries first before launching worldwide. A global release date hasn't been announced yet for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, but Niantic plans to release the game later this year. Interested gamers can sign up to receive updates on the Wizards Unite website.