Harry Potter has always had a weird relationship with video games, from the traditional movie tie-ins to the Lego series. But now that the franchise has mostly stepped aside for the prequel era in Fantastic Beasts, you’d think we’d start seeing more games connected to Newt instead of Harry and friends—but the latest Potter game is Hogwarts bound!
Developed by Jam City, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a mobile game set in the roughly 11-12 years between Harry’s birth and his enrollment at Hogwarts, promising appearances from the younger versions of familiar characters like Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley, as well as Hogwarts faculty like Professor Snape and Hagrid.
While it’s a prequel, it’s staying well away from the period in which the Fantastic Beasts films are set. Although the trailer doesn’t really show all that much, it promises the sort of things all good Potter games should; it lets you make a character and get the chance to explore Hogwarts’ weird and wonderful grounds while learning spells, making friends (and going on “relationship quests” with them, for those interested in the shipping side of Potter fandom), and apparently stupefying the crap out of them should the need arise in the occasional duel.
So basically, it’s a bit more like the earlier movie games, which let you dive in and around the various areas of one of the most famous schools in fantasy fiction, instead of those godawful movie-tie ins for the final films that played more like shooting games with a wand instead of a gun.
But presumably, the real draw for fans with Hogwarts Mystery will be just that—the titular mystery of what the school was like in that period between Voldemort’s seeming disappearance in Harry’s infancy, and his eventual resurgence by the time Harry was preparing to become a Wizard. There’s fertile ground for some intriguing explorations of the vast Potter canon that could be as intriguing an avenue for a prequel to explore as the early days of Grindelwald and Newt Scamander’s time.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is set to hit Android and iOS devices later this year.