What We Want From the HARRY POTTER RPG
A couple of weeks ago, we revealed leaked footage of a HARRY POTTER RPG. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. My mind is racing with theories, hopes, and potential features.
I’m not going to lie: I’ve been waiting for this game since I was a little kid. I’ve been waiting years to explore Hogwarts, to create my own character, and to forge my own destiny in the Wizarding World of HARRY POTTER.
So the rest of the world might have moved on, but I’m still excited for the HARRY POTTER RPG. But let’s face it, guys: it’s probably going to suck. Now, I don’t say that to be a cynical contrarian. I want this game to be good. But this is Warner Brothers we’re talking about, and their recent history with the franchise has been spotty at best.
Time and again they bury the potential of their games beneath mountains of AAA price-gouging nonsense. Whoever they get to develop the game, they still own the HARRY POTTER license.
But let’s say Warner Brothers decides to make this a good game. Let’s say they pour all of their passion and creativity into this project. What would it look like?
So, what do we want to see in a HARRY POTTER RPG? How should the gameplay? What should its focus be? Well, let’s take a look!
The Core Focus Of A HARRY POTTER RPG
There are a lot of RPG archetypes to choose from for this game. Should there be a pre-set story with pre-made characters like a FINAL FANTASY game? Should it have the flexibility and branching choices of a Bioware title?
I want an open-world, open-ended sandbox RPG that emphasizes choice, immersion, and emergent storytelling. In short, imagine if Bethesda made a decent game.
The top priority should be immersion, not just another pre-made story. I want a game that truly makes you feel like a wizard at Hogwarts. Everything in the game should reinforce this.
There should be some simulation aspects to the gameplay. What if you actually went to classes? What if classes were dynamic, with mini-games and activities, and tied into the progression system? Imagine getting experience or learning new skills by performing well in class.
Imagine a system where you can form friendships and rivalries with other students. What if these students had randomly generated personalities and abilities? Sort of like the Nemesis system from SHADOW OF MORDOR. I’d love to take my friends with me on adventures, or make enemies and try to thwart them. That’s the sort of emergent storytelling I expect from this game.
The core gameplay loop would go something like this: You go to class to improve your skills use those skills to explore Hogwarts, solve magical puzzles, and fight monsters. In between all this, you interact with other students, each with their own skills and traits. All the while, an overarching story unfolds involving the mysteries of the castle.
I don’t want a linear RPG with a HARRY POTTER skin. We deserve more than that. Warner Brothers have the opportunity to create something special here, to fulfill our dream of going to Hogwarts.
So, we’ve established the core gameplay, but how do we build on these themes? Well, if we’re focusing on immersion and role-play, then player choice should be at the heart of the experience.
First, we need to be able to make our own character. We saw some brief clips of character creation in the leak, but we still don’t know how deep it goes.
At the very least, we should be able to pick our own house, and this should have a significant effect on the gameplay. Each house needs its own common room, and its own favored skills and traits.
The house you pick should also affect certain quests. It should be much easier to interact with members of your own house, and this should open up unique story branches.
But let’s go deeper than that. As I said, you should be able to form relationships in this game for good or ill. So, your house, background, dialogue choices, and reputation should affect how people respond to you.
Is your character more of a jock or a bookworm? Are they rebellious or a teacher’s pet? Honest or manipulative? Each of these traits will determine who you get along with.
Player choice is essential to any role-playing experience, and a HARRY POTTER RPG is no exception. These games are at their best when they allow you to express yourself and when the world responds in kind.
I’m honestly at a loss for why so many HARRY POTTER games have been so bad. This series should translate easily into a video game. Not because of its riveting action, but because of its world, its atmosphere, and its themes.
For me, a HARRY POTTER game should be about mystery, intrigue, and, above all, exploration. Haven’t you ever wanted to explore the Wizarding World? To see Hogsmeade or the Forbidden Forest with your own eyes?
Hogwarts, especially, should feel like its own character. While the hub areas should be easy to navigate, things should get stranger as you go off the beaten path. Just like in the books, things should shift and move, revealing new corridors and secret areas. It should be up to the player to figure out the patterns that trigger these events.
The deeper you go, the more dangerous the school becomes. The most forbidden areas should be hidden behind enchantments, puzzles, and monsters. As you learn new spells, you’ll find new ways to bypass these safeguards. As you play the game, you’ll slowly push further into the dark reaches of the school.
These chambers should be full of treasure, secret quests, and even boss fights with powerful monsters. By the end of the game, you should feel like you’ve mastered Hogwarts itself.
People have been waiting decades for a game like this. If Warner Brothers are going to make a HARRY POTTER RPG, they need to go all the way. They have the budget and the talent to do everything I’ve listed above and more. The last thing I want is a carbon copy of DRAGON AGE or THE WITCHER, even though I love both of those games.
HARRY POTTER needs a different approach, something that caters to its unique themes. If Warner Brothers can pull this off, then this could be the start of a new series. This could be their flagship RPG franchise, based on an already popular IP.
But these are just my ideas. What are yours? What would your ideal HARRY POTTER RPG look like? Let us know!