Harry Potter could have a big impact on the gaming world in 2022. The enormous intellectual property will see the release of an open-world action role-playing game in Hogwarts Legacy next year, a title that has the chance to be among the best-licensed games in recent memory. However, years ago fans apparently could have had the chance to enjoy an ambitious massively multiplayer online Harry Potter game, if it had not been canceled.
It is common knowledge now that Harry Potter is among the most popular and beloved franchises in cinema, books, and beyond. However, that was not always the case. Unlike the likes of The Lord of the Rings or some other IPs that Harry Potter may be compared to, Harry Potter is not a fifty-plus-year-old entity that has stood the test of time. Only the fourth Harry Potter book (2000) was hot off the press when the first Harry Potter film (2001) was released. At that time, although popular, not everyone believed the franchise would go on to be as beloved as it is today. Count EA among the doubters.
Recently Kim Salzer, who was the director of product marketing for EA from 2000-2003, informed the video game masses of some very interesting Harry Potter tidbits. In an interview with Original Gamer Life, Salzer says that she was personally involved in a huge MMO for Harry Potter. The game was developed far enough for a beta to be available in-house. The team had an online and offline component for the game. The team even had the plan to physically mail prizes, ribbons, and more to the players. However, the project was “killed” by EA.
Salzer says that the team thoroughly researched the project and was very confident in the success of the Harry Potter MMO. However, EA apparently was going through some changes at the time and it did not have a belief that the IP would have a shelf life beyond a year or two. This would have been sometime between 2000 and 2003, and perhaps the first film had not even been released yet. So EA did some forecasting and decided it did not want to gamble on Harry Potter. The decision simply proved to be the wrong one.
Over the years, the Harry Potter games have mostly been movie tie-ins and the LEGO titles. It definitely would have been interesting to see a big MMO video game start early and live alongside the movies and books for years – updating with each new advancement in the story. Decades later, fans are excited about Hogwarts Legacy, a game that will have to live up to some high expectations.