Unofficial Harry Potter MMO On Hold Indefinitely

Unofficial Harry Potter MMO On Hold Indefinitely

Harry Potter Online

An email sent to fans on Friday announced that developer Bio-Hazard Entertainment has put its massively multiplayer game Harry Potter Online on hold.

A tip received by Massively on Friday, March 7 revealed that developer Bio-Hazard Entertainment has put its Harry Potter MMO on hold. The website for the game no longer exists, and an interview video from the developer has been removed from YouTube. A fraction of the official statement was published by Massively:

It hurts us all:( our hearts are broken and torn. Bio-Hazard Entertainment and all its team love every single one of you loyal wizards and thank you for everything you have done. Sometimes people just like to ruin things for others. As loyal HP fans we all stand strong and united! Please remember here at BHE we love you all and you are the greatest fans we could have asked for! BHE site coming soon so you can join us in all our productions!

[...]

The team is discussing using what they have made and making their own MMO based off of what you guys have suggested, except not HP related. But lets all unite together and show WB that this is needed! WIZARDS UNITE!

The website for Harry Potter Online was up and running with a gallery and forums as of March 2. Developer Bio-Hazard Entertainment stated that the MMO was in limited production, without authorization from Warner Bros. "Seeing that it could be a really great business plan, a license was given that would allow the company to begin production on the MMO up until beta," stated Bio Hazard Entertainment on the now-defunct website. "Once beta was hit it would then be decided [by Warner Bros.] if the production would be a good investment or not. " The official statement gives no reason for the project's halt, and Warner Bros. has made no comment about the game.

There's certainly no shortage of Harry Potter-themed games out there. Electronic Arts published videogames for each of the Harry Potter films, and Traveller's Tales developed two Lego Harry Potter games. A videogame adaptation for the upcoming Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has also been announced. Fans have clamoured for years for a massively multiplayer roleplaying game set in the Harry Potter universe, and there is enough material there to build a world with factions and various classes of wizards and witches. However, Warner Bros. doesn't seem interested in publishing an MMO based on the franchise. Personally, after IGN's brilliant and devastating April Fool's joke teasing a Harry Potter television show about Aurors tore up my little muggle heart, I try to keep my Harry Potter enthusiasm in check.

Source: Massively

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I don't really know what they expected. I mean, no offense to anyone on the team, but when you illegally use someones IP, even with the best of intentions, problems are bound to arise.

crispskittlez:
I don't really know what they expected. I mean, no offense to anyone on the team, but when you illegally use someones IP, even with the best of intentions, problems are bound to arise.

I don't think they were using it illegally, they had permission from WB to develop the game up to a point but WB decided not to give them the full license and so shut down the project. Unless this bit is wrong of course:

a license was given that would allow the company to begin production on the MMO up until beta

My guess is the quality wasn't good enough for the investment. MMOs need to be extremely amazing to remotely succeed in the Western market, and I don't see how a Harry Potter MMO would be profitable.

crispskittlez:
I don't really know what they expected. I mean, no offense to anyone on the team, but when you illegally use someones IP, even with the best of intentions, problems are bound to arise.

Try reading the article next time, maybe then you'll notice that they had a limited licensing deal to work on the game up to a beta state at least, where warner brothers would then decide to allow it or not. Or post ignorantly, not my problem.

By the wording in that letter, it sounds like someone possibly within the community started of reporting them of one thing or another to Warner's, which led to a canceling of their limited rights to the IP. The chrono trigger fan sequel a couple years back had a similar issue; someone who was part of that community waited til the game was nearly release ready before reporting them to Square Enix under the guise of them charging people for the game, lying just so they could see it get torn down by Square. I bet some member on this games site got pissy after being denied access to what they had running for the game, or didn't have their idea immediately loved in the community.

CriticalMiss:
I don't think they were using it illegally, they had permission from WB to develop the game up to a point but WB decided not to give them the full license and so shut down the project. Unless this bit is wrong of course:

a license was given that would allow the company to begin production on the MMO up until beta

cursedseishi:
Try reading the article next time, maybe then you'll notice that they had a limited licensing deal to work on the game up to a beta state at least, where warner brothers would then decide to allow it or not. Or post ignorantly, not my problem.

By the wording in that letter, it sounds like someone possibly within the community started of reporting them of one thing or another to Warner's, which led to a canceling of their limited rights to the IP. The chrono trigger fan sequel a couple years back had a similar issue; someone who was part of that community waited til the game was nearly release ready before reporting them to Square Enix under the guise of them charging people for the game, lying just so they could see it get torn down by Square. I bet some member on this games site got pissy after being denied access to what they had running for the game, or didn't have their idea immediately loved in the community.

Unless what 'beta' meant to both parties was clearly defined in the licensing agreement, they had a flimsy defense if WB wanted to step in. "Developer Bio-Hazard Entertainment stated that the MMO was in limited production, without authorization from Warner Bros." seems to contradict what is immediately said afterwards, so when they say they had a license, they may have been using the term fairly loosely.

Seishi, I'm trying to look into info on the Chrono Trigger fan sequel, but other than the wiki page that doesn't give many details, I can't really find.... many details. Do you know if the development team had any contact with Square Enix before receiving the cease-and-desist?

crispskittlez:
Unless what 'beta' meant to both parties was clearly defined in the licensing agreement, they had a flimsy defense if WB wanted to step in. "Developer Bio-Hazard Entertainment stated that the MMO was in limited production, without authorization from Warner Bros." seems to contradict what is immediately said afterwards, so when they say they had a license, they may have been using the term fairly loosely.

It's definitely a weird situation and either way the developers shouldn't have been too suprised to have it shut down when they didn't have much security in the long run. Hopefully Warner Bros. will make an official comment to clear things up.

What? There was an HP MMO? And they shut it down? NOOOOOOOOoooo! What? C'mon! I am so incredibly disappointed.

That game, if made properly, would have sold SO MUCH.

Arnoxthe1:
What? There was an HP MMO? And they shut it down? NOOOOOOOOoooo! What? C'mon! I am so incredibly disappointed.

That game, if made properly, would have sold SO MUCH.

This is why I want to be a game developer. So I can make shit like this happen regardless of what the corporations say. I don't care if I go broke in the process, I want to make people's dreams come true!

CriticalMiss:

crispskittlez:
Unless what 'beta' meant to both parties was clearly defined in the licensing agreement, they had a flimsy defense if WB wanted to step in. "Developer Bio-Hazard Entertainment stated that the MMO was in limited production, without authorization from Warner Bros." seems to contradict what is immediately said afterwards, so when they say they had a license, they may have been using the term fairly loosely.

It's definitely a weird situation and either way the developers shouldn't have been too suprised to have it shut down when they didn't have much security in the long run. Hopefully Warner Bros. will make an official comment to clear things up.

I'd be surprised if either party were able to give a completely unbiased statement as to what happened. Like you said, it's a weird situation for sure.

While I know nothing about this project, I have to say that a Harry Potter MMO done correctly, could provide a fantastic virtual world. Unfortunately, it would take a near "Star Citizen"-esc level of funding, and a similar "Star Citizen"-esc situation where creative and developmental control was in the hands of the most devoted fans of the mythos. Allowing it to be guided by Warner Bros etc.. or nearly other major commercial interest will end up with something that is likely not nearly "detailed" enough to be worth it, and pushed out the door too swiftly in the hopes of making sure shareholder profits this quarter were on the rise. Hell, the damn thing wouldn't make it off the drawing board because some people would insist you make the "Kid's experience going through Hogwarts and/or other schools of magic" experience, when others would say "We want a more adult, in depth world where people can be everything from Aurors to professors etc.." . Just the "Should it be kid-friendly vs made for teens/adults" element would hamstring discussion in a normal corporate environment.

However, if you do imagine that a dev with "Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium Games" level of quality and devotion, managed to get Rowling on board, I'd be excited about the possibilities. Its definitely one of those games and game systems that everyone says "its too big, its too much, it can't be done", but perhaps if Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar succeed, more of these "blue-sky" projects will be funded correctly

Azaraxzealot:

Arnoxthe1:
What? There was an HP MMO? And they shut it down? NOOOOOOOOoooo! What? C'mon! I am so incredibly disappointed.

That game, if made properly, would have sold SO MUCH.

This is why I want to be a game developer. So I can make shit like this happen regardless of what the corporations say. I don't care if I go broke in the process, I want to make people's dreams come true!

You would be stripped to the bone in seconds if you actually tried to release such a game, especially with such a massive franchise as Harry Potter.

So, can't they rescues some of the work and make a game (probably not an a MMO) set in Swinepustules, that magic school attended by the infamous Barry Trotter? I think it would be a great opportunity to poke some fun at the franchise. But I suppose rejigging it into something comical and lawyer friendlier would be too much work. Pity.

 

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