E3: J.K. Rowling conjures up ‘Book of Spells’
Muggles can now get a taste of Hogwarts. In partnership with J.K. Rowling, Sony on Monday announced an interactive title called “Book of Spells.”
Part-game, part-book, the title lets readers learn about spells used in the “Harry Potter” film and book series — and then practice “casting” them via Sony’s PlayStation 3 Move motion controller.
The book – or is it a game? — will feature some original writing by Rowling, though it remained unclear to what degree.
“Book of Spells” was conjured up by Rowling’s new Pottermore division, which sells electronic versions of the author’s Harry Potter titles.
The title, priced at $39.99 for both the physical book and a game disc, will use a new book-shaped peripheral called Wonderbook, which does some conjuring of its own by creating augmented reality to enhance stories and educational titles through the PS3. Sony said it would release additional game-books in the near future.
Using augmented reality technology, the console’s PlayStation Eye camera recognizes which page is open and displays interactive images on the screen based on what is happening in the story, so, for instance, a dragon writhes and rises from the pages on the TV screen or a door that’s closed on the page will creak open on the screen so viewers can peer deep inside a virtual cave.
Players use the Move controller as a surrogate magic wand, casting spells familiar to all Potter fans. Waving the controller in a “Z” lets players throw fireballs at pests, for example. Alohomora opens locks within the book, revealing secrets about the spells.
The only secret left, it seems, is when “The Book of Spells” will be released.
— Alex Pham and Ben Fritz
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