The studio behind Pokémon Go has practically become synonymous with AR-based adventure games. That doesn’t mean that Niantic only deals with Pokémon, though. It has also tapped into another fandom with its addicting style of games—Harry Potter lovers.
The AR mobile game “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” actually works a lot like Pokémon Go. Players travel around in the real-world to find items and battle other players in the virtual one. However, at a time when people are locked down by social distancing measures, not much real-world travel is happening. To address that issue, Niantic is introducing a nifty new feature to the game that will let players enjoy it from home.
Take a Trip on the Knight Bus
Saying the words “Knight Bus” to a Harry Potter fan should get an instant reaction. It will also make a lot of sense why that piece of canon was chosen for this feature.
In the Harry Potter universe, the Knight Bus serves as a form of emergency transport for witches and wizards who are stranded. That perfectly describes players of “Wizards Unite.”
The new feature will allow people to virtually travel to Hogwarts Castle, which will serve as a new Fortress location. This means that players will be able to go head-to-head with others in magical dueling challenges. Once they arrive, they’ll be able to battle other wizards with Runestone items. Essentially, it will act just like any other Fortress.
In normal times, players must actually travel to a Fortress location in real life. The new update will let those in quarantine continue to enjoy “Wizards Unite” without leaving the house.
Anyone that’s also familiar with Pokémon Go will recognize that the new Knight Bus feature is similar to the other title’s remote raids. Unlike Pokémon, however, “Wizards Unite” won’t force players to spend in-game currency on passes to access the Knight Bus.
A New Normal
In the world after coronavirus, things will probably look a little different. While games like Pokémon Go and “Wizards Unite” have had an extremely successful run, they aren’t made for social distancing.
As people slowly resume their daily activities outside the home, it isn’t likely that many people will be venturing out solely to catch Pokémon or engage in a wizarding duel.
It appears that Niantic also recognizes this and is taking steps to ensure that its games are still being played. Per the announcement unveiling the Knight Bus, the new feature is here to stay. It won’t be disappearing when lockdowns are lifted.
That’s a nice touch for players who just want to duel without leaving the house. Although nothing can replace the feeling of going out in the real-world to interact with wizarding objects, accessing a Fortress from the comfort of your couch also sounds pretty nice.
Time will tell whether features like this are able to keep Niantic’s player base engaged in the months to come.