With the sequel to Fantastic Beasts arriving in cinemas worldwide on 16th November, there's no better time to talk about the secret history of the Harry Potter video game series. In a new Did You Know Gaming video, independent game researcher Liam Robertson takes a look at Nintendo's failed Harry Potter pitch during the N64 era.
Prior to J.K Rowling's franchise becoming a global phenomenon in 1999, Nintendo of America's management decided it wanted to get the jump on developing the popular book series into video games. This followed the success of Rare's GoldenEye 007 game in 1997 - which was based on the James Bond license. Although Nintendo's headquarters in Japan had the final say, its American branch assigned Nintendo Software Technology Corporation (a studio located just down the road in Redmond, Washington) to work on ideas for Harry Potter games.
Of course, in order to gain an understanding of the wizarding world, the team responsible for coming up with these ideas were required to read every entry in the Harry Potter book series from cover to cover. At the time, NST was also busy developing multiple other titles. Eventually, it had two teams split off - with one working on a pitch for a Harry Potter game based on the main adventures and a separate team focusing on the fictional sport of Quidditch. Both of these titles were targeting a Nintendo 64 release. Full prototypes never saw the light of day, but there were art animations and mock 3D demos created. Only a few pitch documents and concepts still exist.
In the end, Nintendo made demands for exclusive rights to the franchise and talks with J.K. Rowling's reps broke down. Ultimately, the license went to Warner Bros. and Electronic Arts in order to reach the widest audience possible. Noticeably, the platform Nintendo had originally pitched its own ideas for never actually got a Harry Potter game.
Take a look at the full story in the above video and tell us if you would have liked a Harry Potter game on the Nintendo 64.