Electronic Arts nearly made a Harry Potter MMO but decided to cancel the project due to “changes” at the publisher and a lack of faith in the Harry Potter brand remaining popular, apparently.
This information comes from Kim Salzer, the former director of product marketing at EA (2000-2003). During a recent interview with The Real Brandolorian, Salzer was asked to comment on canceled projects, and she mentioned the Harry Potter game.
Imagine a Harry Potter MMO…
It almost happened but #EA cancelled it. They did the research and even a beta version of the game, but didn’t think Harry Potter was going to be around more than a few years.#harrypotter #hogwarts #voldemort #mmo #metaverse #multiverse pic.twitter.com/bt5u6YQ2oe
— OGL: Original Gamer Life (@OGLifeOGL) December 22, 2021
“A big one for me, because I was so personally involved in it and it’s such a huge IP that has lived on, is a online massively multiplayer game for Harry Potter,” Salzer said (via Polygon).
The Harry Potter game would have use an “offline/online” model where players would be mailed physical prizes to go along with their in-game achievements, apparently.
The game advanced to the beta stage of development, Salzer said, but EA eventually pulled the plug. “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,” Salzer explained.
EA was the former rights-holder for the Harry Potter game license and made many Harry Potter games before the license shifted to Warner Bros., which now makes Harry Potter games through its Portkey label. The next big Harry Potter game is 2022’s Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world game set before the events of the films.
The movie series continues, too, with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore coming up in 2022. Outside of that, there is a Harry Potter retrospective special coming to HBO Max on January 1 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film series.