In a recent interview on Twitch, former VP of global brand management for Activision and director of product marketing for EA Kim Salzer discussed the project that got away, the game she worked on that was never released: Harry Potter, the MMO.
“We did all the research,” Salzer says, “we had the beta built out. It was a combination offline and online experience where we’d actually mail stuff to the kids, like prizes and ribbons and stuff like that. [It was] thoroughly researched, very confident in the success of this. But it was killed, for lack of a better term, because EA was going through some changes at that time and they just didn’t know or believe enough that that IP would have a shelf-life longer than a year or two.”
Per Linkedin, Salzer was director of product marketing at EA from 2000 to 2003, the period when the first two movies were released and Potter-mania took off. In retrospect the idea that Harry Potter, a cultural force that remains tediously dominant today, would have fizzled out in “a year or two” seems hopelessly naive. Or perhaps it was just wishful thinking.
Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world RPG set in the late 1800s, is currently in development at Avalanche Software and scheduled for a release in 2022. Apparently you’ll get to make your own witch or wizard, and play through an original story not written by J. K. Rowling. For something you can play right now, a better option would be the Witchcraft and Wizardry Minecraft mod, which is an entire RPG built in Minecraft that lets you learn magic and explore Hogwarts.