‘Harry Potter’: ‘Book of Spells’ transports gamers to Hogwarts

Nov. 28, 2012 | 3:53 p.m.

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

J. K. Rowling, author of the "Harry Potter" series, collaborated on "Wonderbook: Book of Spells." (Sony Computer Entertainment)

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" brings the wizarding world from J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to life. (Sony Computer Entertainment)

“Wonderbook: Book of Spells,” a new game released exclusively for PlayStation 3 earlier this month, uses augmented reality to transport the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry into a player’s living room. The game, which relies on PlayStation’s Eye camera and Move motion wand, was created in collaboration with “Harry Potter” author J. K. Rowling and allows would-be wizards to learn and cast spells — Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa, Alohomora and many more that will be familiar to any Potter fan. Hero Complex caught up via email with Dave Ranyard, the director of Sony’s London Studio, which designed the game, to talk about the origins of the game and Rowling’s influence.

HC: Can you tell us a little about how the project came about? What inspired this augmented reality book/game combination?

DR: The London Studio started making augmented reality games back in 2004 on PlayStation 2 when we released “EyeToy: Play,” one of the first augmented reality games for consoles. We learned a lot. It was loads of fun for all the family, but looking back, it was quite simple and charming. Since then we have released a bunch of augmented reality games: “EyeToy: Groove,” “Kinetic” fitness, “EyePet,” to name a few. The actual idea of Wonderbook was first proposed by Masami Kochi back in 2005, and it’s taken us a long time to work on the technology required, utilizing the power of the PlayStation 3 to make Wonderbook the experience it is today. I think everyone has dreamed of stories coming to life and that’s exactly what happens with Wonderbook. Imagine words, pictures, stories coming to life before your very eyes, and you being at the heart of the experience.

HC: How hands-on was J.K. Rowling in terms of the creative process?

DR: A few years ago, Sony created a partnership with Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s website. This gave the London Studio an opportunity to demonstrate the Wonderbook prototype to J.K. Rowling, which inspired an idea for a spell book and soon “Book of Spells” was born. We had PlayStation Move motion controllers in our studio at that time, and this naturally became your wand. It was a match made in heaven. Every Hogwarts student needs a spell book and a wand, and these match perfectly to the Wonderbook and PlayStation Move controller…. What’s great about the “Book of Spells” is that it actually links to your Pottermore account and aligns your Pottermore wand and house.

HC: Which spell was the most challenging to bring to life?

DR: My favorite part of “Book of Spells” is actually part of the finale in Chapter 2 when a giant scorpion lands on the book and attacks you. I remember taking this home to show my kids, and they just loved it. It was a great confidence boost for me to see my kids so excited about Wonderbook and “Book of Spells.” … [The Patronus charm is] part of the grand finale, so you’ll have to complete “Book of Spells” to find out more.

HC: Wonderbook provides a unique blend of reading and playing, part book and part game. Do you have more interactive “pop-up” books in the works?

DR: We have a fantastic road map of Wonderbook games coming out and right now we can talk about a few of them. We have “Diggs Nightcrawler,” which we are making in collaboration with Oscar-winning Moonbot Studios. Diggs is a bookworm detective with a reading habit and a nose for trouble and you take on the role of his partner to solve the crime … who bumped Humpty [Dumpty]? We are also working on a game called “Walking With Dinosaurs” with BBC Earth. We also have a partnership with Disney who obviously have lots of amazing characters and stories, and we’ll be talking about this partnership in more detail very soon.

– Noelene Clark

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Comments


3 Responses to ‘Harry Potter’: ‘Book of Spells’ transports gamers to Hogwarts

  1. haley bolin says:

    what do u need 4 this game

  2. Michelle says:

    I can't waite to get the Standerd Book of Spells and try our all of the spells that I've seen from the books it shusb be really great fun

  3. Michele says:

    I can't to try all of the spells in the Standered Book of Spells if I do then I really hope that Professor Flickwick gives me Exceeds Expections in hlass because I've studied every day of the summer holidays I know for a fact thta I'm not suppouse to use magic out side of school but you know for a fact that I just can wait and you should know for a fact that I would never joke or lie about something as important as this.

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