Harry Potter and the EA Sports Franchise That Should Have Been


This week the Harry Potter franchise turned 20 years outdated and your entire world appeared to affix collectively for a communal memory (which truly sounds moderately disgusting contemplating how magical the entire thing was). 

I really feel I might be remiss in my duties as the author of a throwback column not to participate in my very own manner, so buckle up Muggles – this week we’re flying to the wizarding world. 

In the 20 years for the reason that launch of the primary guide, the Harry Potter sequence has grow to be nothing wanting a phenomenon, spawning movies, theme parks and, most significantly for this column’s functions, video video games. 

Naturally every movie had its personal tie-in recreation and finally Lego received in on the motion with its personal lovely tackle the sequence. The title I’ve determined to concentrate on for Throwback Thursday, nevertheless, is Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.

Curious launch

Quidditch World Cup was launched throughout a lull interval for the Harry Potter movies and stands out as an odd recreation in consequence. It was the top of 2003 – the Chamber of Secrets had been launched on the finish of 2002 however the Prisoner of Azkaban film was not anticipated till mid-2004. Consequently, writer Electronic Arts wasn’t in a position to launch a Christmas-period film tie-in. 

This left a giant launch hole in a interval that will need to have began to appear like a reasonably stable gold galleon generator for EA. 

Fortunately it had a inventive answer to its drawback and that answer was Quidditch World Cup. As the writer with an arm that pushed out Fifa, NFL and NBA titles yearly, sports activities simulation wasn’t precisely a stretch for EA. Although I think about mashing components of all of those sports activities collectively and including broomsticks introduced some fascinating challenges.

NBA takes flight

I purchased each single Harry Potter online game launch throughout a number of platforms. Sometimes I purchased the identical recreation for a number of programs. You know these folks that open a trench coat and reveal a dozen gold watches to promote for a suspiciously affordable value? That’s me, however with copies of The Chamber of Secrets on GBA. Meet me on Knockturn Alley.

Because I don’t have a home elf to present me the organisational assist I desperately want I nonetheless personal all of them, Quidditch World Cup for PS2 included. 

To EA’s credit score, Quidditch World Cup wasn’t the train in exploitation it might have been. It truly was, and nonetheless is, a reasonably nicely put collectively recreation with some genuinely inventive components. 

The controls are extraordinarily fundamental and clearly supposed to maintain youngsters enthralled however (and I’m undecided if I needs to be ashamed to confess this) I loved them simply as a lot now as I did in 2003 after I was their supposed viewers. 

I notably loved the particular mixture strikes and purpose celebration sequences that managed to maintain gameplay barely visually fascinating. I say barely. They begin to repeat moderately shortly and put on extra skinny than Voldemort’s pores and skin.

Back to fundamentals

The recreation can also be structurally sound (in contrast to these rickety trying Hogwarts viewing stands). It teaches you the fundamentals by having you play one of many 4 Hogwarts homes within the faculty’s league cup. After profitable this you progress moderately shortly to taking management of a nationwide workforce. No regional cease hole with the Chudley Cannons for you. 

Quidditch World Cup by no means was going to win any awards for the best way it appears and much more visually spectacular Harry Potter video games had been launched each earlier than and after it (Philosopher’s Stone for PS1 was definitely not certainly one of them, although).

However, it doesn’t look horrible – particular results are sometimes entertaining and I actually loved the best way every nation’s stadium had been designed to mirror it not directly. Often the design was trite, bordering on stereotypical however I might have lived within the Japanese nationwide stadium. 

I additionally appreciated (and nonetheless do recognize) that there was a genuinely good steadiness between female and male gamers throughout the nationwide groups. When I used to be youthful I had an inclination to lean in direction of the predominantly feminine French workforce with its frankly fabulous powder blue kits. 

The commentary is, unsurprisingly, horrible. But it did not annoy me any extra or inform me a lot lower than real-life sports activities commentary. 

Quidditch World Cup was positively a recreation designed with Harry Potter-loving youngsters in thoughts. But it’s 14 years later and although the core Harry Potter viewers is far older, this week has proven it’s no much less passionate. 

No, that wasn’t a Nimbus 2000, it’s the sound of alternative retrospectively wooshing previous EA. 

It’s odd to me that the writer by no means explored the potential of Quidditch World Cup. It might have secured the love and repeated purchases of a special type of sports activities fan. Quidditch World Cup would have been a superb manner for EA to safe a extra long-lasting part of the financially profitable Harry Potter universe and profit from the truth that it wasn’t film or book-dependent. 

Grand ambitions

Like Fifa, Quidditch World Cup might have had yearly releases with incremental enhancements. If EA had moved away from focusing on a youthful viewers, the sport might have grow to be extra advanced; together with participant stats might have added a strategic workforce building aspect and it might have been good to have the ability to play in a single place throughout a complete match. 

Just think about Quidditch World Cup on current-gen consoles with their extra superior graphics and physics engines. If EA Sports had taken the sport underneath its Quaffle-holding arm, we might have had a Harry Potter sports activities franchise with cooperative and aggressive multiplayer, on-line leagues, and a single-player The Journey mode. It might have been an eSport!

I’m nonetheless holding out – I feel I’d make an incredible Beater. 

  • Emma Boyle is looking again at video games passed by (a few of them older than she is.) Follow her time touring adventures in her weekly column. Got any video games you wish to see her strive? Let her know on Twitter

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