Harry Potter was an iconic tale, not just for my childhood, but also by the standards of modern storytelling. Cultures across history have their respective myths that explain anecdotal experiences believed to be supernatural, but the Harry Potter series imagined a universe in which all of these mythical stories are true, and even coexisting in our modern world. Harry Potter was a character I grew up alongside. He exemplified traits of bravery and a sound moral compass, but while he is emblematic of the ideal hero, I don’t think he is the main reason that I or so many others latched onto his world so aggressively. It’s the fantasy of the world itself that I feel is so enticing, which is why a clean break from the books’ core storyline may be the very best thing the recently leaked Harry Potter game has going for it.
A 90-second trailer recently surfaced on Reddit showing off the RPG of every Harry Potter fan’s dreams. It had action, puzzle-solving, and most importantly, exploration of Hogwarts and the surrounding grounds. There is, however, one notable absence from the footage: Harry Potter himself. Based on the gameplay, players will create their own Hogwarts student, and while a look into the wizarding world through eyes other than Potter’s is a welcome change of pace, his truancy is still suspicious. That is until we learn that—according to the leak—this Harry Potter game takes place in the 1800’s, well before the age of any of the characters we know and love. While this may initially feel like a shock to hardcore fans, I argue that it is the best course of action this theoretical game could take.
My reasoning is that this diversion in setting can take advantage of the books’ story-rich world without doing any more damage to the series. The Harry Potter world has been no stranger to plot holes. A personal favorite of mine comes from calculating the number of students that go through Hogwarts and trying to understand how the one school could populate England’s entire wizarding community, but these are the charming technicalities true fans tolerate.
Less tolerable are the plot holes introduced retroactively through the movies and other expanded universe content. Most recently, an uproar followed the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindlewald, which depicts Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, as a shape-shifting human woman. The full controversy was excellently broken down on Reddit by user Portarossa, but to outline it simply, the books never proposed that this was a trait of the snake.
This is the problem with continually expanding on the same characters and time frame. Eventually, you’re going to run out of wiggle room and begin infringing upon the narrative tenets established by the books. This leaked Harry Potter game is ideal because it can make full use of the universe’s expansive lore, and even slide in some intriguing backstory, without retconning any of its established content or diluting its narrative through reinterpretation. We can get our own adventure, only tangentially connected to the familiar arc.
In the leaked game, players will purportedly take on the role of a late enroller into Hogwarts who uses their unique tracking abilities to aid an investigation into magical anomalies happening within the Forbidden Forest. The leak claims that players will get to choose their own house, and even decide if they want to be a good or bad wizard/witch, which no doubt shapes how the story progresses. Assuming the game exists, it has the opportunity to offer players exploration and choice greater than any Harry Potter game before it, without being shackled to the original books or stepping on their toes.
This leaked Harry Potter game is exactly what’s needed to give the franchise a new foothold in gaming without pissing anyone off. As a die-hard fan of the book series, most of the movies never did much for me, but the first two video games were a perfect fusion of my passions. Even within the strict confines of the books’ plot, the magic of exploring Harry’s world was enough for me. Maybe I’m a Harry Potter snob now, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for some modern Potter content that doesn’t screw with my childhood.