Nintendo Had Wanted to Make the Harry Potter Games

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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Harry Potter - The Hogwartz Express

The Hogwartz Express

File this A new Unseen64 report has revealed that Nintendo was one of the companies that vied for the rights to make the Harry Potter games back in the late 90s. They were up against Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros. Of course, Warner Bros. won that fight in the end.

In 1998, Nintendo of America’s NST studio was given just one week to develop a pitch. The team drew up plans to create a game version of each Harry Potter book as they were released. They were planned for the Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance, and the GameCube (which was still in development at the time). According to an employee who worked at the NST studio at the time, “All together it was only a week of insanely furious scribbling things to the digital artists to create animations for mock game demos”. While Nintendo’s pitch for the rights to make the Harry Potter video games was taking place, the studio’s first three projects (Ridge Racer 64, Bionic Commando and Crystalis) were all put on hold.

Harry Potter - Nintendo's Vision of Hogwartz

Nintendo’s Vision of Hogwartz

Development of Nintendo’s pitch wasn’t smooth sailing though, as there were internal disagreements. The artists originally were going for a look similar to the original book’s British cover image, but Nintendo higher-ups stepped in and forced them to change it to a more manga style. “It went against all my instincts based on what I had read quotes from J.K. Rowling about keeping it strictly British,” the employee said. “I had to revamp my initial designs and go more manga/Japanese – I had a big fight about that, but my boss insisted.”

This seems like a rather strange choice considering Harry Potter is a very British story, as J.K. Rowling intended. This change may have lessened Nintendo’s chances of winning the bid, especially considering they were up against much larger offers from the other companies (so their chances weren’t the best to begin with). Of course, JK Rowling would end up selling the rights for making the Harry Potter video games to Warner Bros. (who then contracted EA to make a video game adaptation of each Harry Potter book and a Quidditch spinoff game).

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About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.