This week, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened launched worldwide, having already cast a spell on fans across mainland China. To celebrate the mobile game’s extended release, we spoke to Creative Director Justin Webb about his experience working on such a visually unique Hogwarts adventure.

Psst! You can learn how to download the game right here.

Hello Justin! How do you feel about Harry Potter: Magic Awakened finally launching worldwide?

There’s a big sense of relief! I’ve been on the project for a year and a half, but there have been some people who have been on it for much, much longer.

The best part of releasing a new game is getting it into the hands of the fans for the first time and seeing what they love about it. We’ll keep creating content and keep expanding the game moving forward. There are some really cool updates coming in the year ahead.


Harry Potter: Magic Awakened has such an interesting animated style – how do you think the wizarding world lends itself to this more hand-painted aesthetic?

The visuals in Harry Potter: Magic Awakened are truly unique for the mobile space and this art style was one of the key reasons why I wanted to work on this project. It lends itself so well to the Wizarding World because it’s one-of-a-kind.

The art style is very “painterly” and there is texture and technique to the brushstrokes that make up the backgrounds and characters. The combat levels have a unique visual look – they take place on books, so there’s this very strong picture-book style that runs through the entire game. Hopefully, it’ll remind fans about reading the books for the first time.


What was your relationship with Harry Potter before you took on this project?

Like millions of other people, I read the books and I watched all the movies when they came out, but I was a grown-up.

It’s funny because we had houses at our school when I was growing up, so there are so many strong nostalgic elements for me. Harry Potter always felt like a magical idealised version of the 70s, so it always strongly resonated with me. Even though I wasn’t 10-years-old when the first book came out, it reminded me of being a kid at school again.

Mobile gaming has come so far in the past ten years – how have these innovations inspired you in your work and with Harry Potter: Magic Awakened?

Just the fact that the complexity of the types of games we can now play on our phones is approaching the quality you could only see on console and PC just a couple of years ago. With Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, it looks more like we’ve made a movie.


What can we expect from the plot and the characters of Harry Potter: Magic Awakened?

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is set about 10 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. When creating the game, we asked ourselves, “what are some of those characters involved in the battle doing now?” Some of the answers to those questions have come from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but we’re set in the interim moment.

So, for example, Neville is professor of Herbology at Hogwarts now, McGonagall is Headmistress, you can hang out with Hagrid quite a bit, and Flitwick is still teaching Charms! We also have lots of brand new characters too. We’re a very strong narrative game and we have a whole bunch of new students for you to hang out with.


What can you tell us about the new characters?

I’m excited to introduce Daniel, Lottie, Ivy, Robyn, Cassandra and Kevin to our fans – they’re the main students that you, as the player, hang out with and go on adventures with. We’ve already seen that Cassandra, your quintessential Slytherin ‘mean girl’, is our most popular character in China!

And there are already people cosplaying as characters from the game. The animators and the voice actors have done such a phenomenal job on the characters. The actors who voiced our canonical characters absolutely nailed their roles too. For example, Dumbledore (voiced by the multi-talented Jeff Bergman) shows up in a couple of places, and the voice acting is astonishing.


And what do you think is most going to excite the fans about this game?

I think there are three huge chunks of the game that are going to resonate with different people: the mini-games, the extremely strong narrative, and the collectible card game system which is the central pillar of the title.

Some people are going to play this like it’s a new book. In the game, we have a bunch of strong, compelling characters, so a large portion of the game is experiencing this brand-new narrative. We have mini games where the players can go to Hogwarts classes, including Care of Magical Creatures, History of Magic, Ancient Runes, Defence Against the Dark Arts and more. You can play with your friends, and even get a report card at the end of term. I think there’s a portion of players that are absolutely going to love the Dance Club feature – it’s more the Viktor and Hermione fantasy rather than the Harry and Ron fantasy of dancing! That’s going to be a perfect place where our social players can show off their fancy clothes and dance with their friends.

The thing I’m really excited to see the players experience is the collectible card game. We have this extra tactical layer where you can move around a battlefield and choose where to cast your spells. There are currently over 70+ cards that you can collect and put together to build decks, with more to come. We also have these character-themed cards called Echoes, and you can have one associated with your deck that gives you advantages that affect your entire strategy. For example, if you want to build a deck focused on magical creatures, you’d pick Newt Scamander as your Echo. I’m incredibly excited to see what the best decks end up being and how the best players use their cards.


And finally, what do you think it is about Harry Potter: Magic Awakened that makes it special?

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is unlike any game I’ve ever played on mobile: it has a lot of elements where you’d think, “that’s an MMO,” – but then it also has a flexible collectible card gameplay system, a strong narrative with hours of cutscenes, plus all sorts of other things to do. I love working on things that are new, with new problems to solve.

It’s an interesting design space to try and fill, and this game absolutely fills that. I hope we’ve hit all the right key notes with the fans and that everyone loves playing it as much as we loved putting it together.

And finally-finally, here at Wizarding World, we must always know our interviewee’s Hogwarts house and Patronus.

I’m a Gryffindor, but I have the worst Patronus. I got a mole. I was hoping for something more exotic!

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is available to download on iOS and Google Play right now.