Nintendo America Really Wanted The Rights To Harry Potter

Image: performancepsu.com

There was a point in time when Japanese video game giant Nintendo was looking intently at the Harry Potter franchise in the late 90s to come to the Nintendo 64. They had aspirations to make the fantasy books into a video game series.

The Harry Potter franchise was a global phenomenon in the early 2000s, from the films, books and even the many different video game adaptions. Many of us are still quite fond of the series and books to this day.

Nintendo's fascination with the books began in around 1999, at this point Nintendo had just achieved great success with Nintendo's Golden Eye 007 on Nintendo 64 with the James Bond License. This was the original reason for Nintendo looking towards Harry Potter as the next collaboration and possible great success.

Despite the Japanese headquarters having the final say in any decision the American studio had some leeway in securing and pursuing the Harry Potter IP rights. It was then that the third book, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and the world started to notice the possible potential of the series. This spurred J.K. Rowling to sell the IP rights across multiple mediums.

The developers were given strict instructions to read every Harry Potter book and to develop titles specifically for the Western market. Which was a lot to ask for in only a week.

At this point in time this studio was halfway through development of three other games; RR64, Bionic Commando, and Crystalis. A portion of developers from each team was taken out and put into two groups to work on the big Harry Potter pitch. One of which would create the idea of a third person game that would adapt the main plot line of the books, while the other had to come up with the spin off game based around the magical sport of Quidditch.

Nintendo wanted exclusive rights to the IP for video games. This would have meant a game per book for at least seven years, or so was the idea.

The crunch proved to be somewhat too much for the American studio, with some people butting heads. Different ideas and styles clashed about the way in which the project would be adapted, most didn't want to move too far from the 'British-ness' of the series. The higher ups however wanted a more cartoonish style, much to the chagrin of the developers.

While these pitches ultimately failed, some copies of the rough drafts and concept art still exist. The different interpretations and artistic talent at Nintendo America had some interesting ideas for the tone and style of the game.

Image: Polygon
Image: The Verge
Image: performancepsu.com
Image: performancepsu.com

Instead we got the 2001 movie from Warner Brothers and games on the PC, Gameboy and Playstation from EA. Following their success each game and movie was made in much the same way, up until Harry Potter and The Deadly Hallows (which was more like a play-by-play of the movie than a video game).

Who knows just how the games would have turned out in the hands of a studio like Nintendo, I for one am still a big fan of the second game - Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets - on the PS2.


Comments

    The GBC games were where it’s at

      No way.

      Philosophers stone and Chamber of secrets on PC are by far the best HP games of all time.

    I still think that the Harry Potter franchise hasn't gotten the game it deserves yet. It seems like a no brainer to make some sort of Destiny-style multiplayer game, just far enough away from MMO that it actually has engaging gameplay, and just close enough to MMO that players can create their own student / really feel like a part of a big school.

    At the very least I would buy a good Quidditch game. Final Fantasy X's Blitzball proved fantasy sports games that take risks can be awesome.

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