Way back in the late nineties it seems Nintendo had an opportunity to secure exclusive multimedia rights to Harry Potter video games, but thanks to some internal disagreement’s and Nintendo’s push to make it look a little more Japanese, plans were scrapped.
According to a new report from Unseen 64, Nintendo tried to get the rights to Harry Potter video games back in the late nineties with Nintendo of America’s NST studio offered a week to come up with a pitch for the game in 1998. It seems the team then drew up plans to produce a game version of each book as they were released, for the Nintendo 64, GameBoy, and then the GameCube once it had been released.
There’s also word that Nintendo had plans to release a spin-off based around the sport of Quidditch, though plans never really progressed beyond concept art and basic animations.
Nintendo was one of many companies diving at the chance to develop Harry Potter video games when Author J.K. Rowling started selling the rights to develop the book into media properties, with Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros. also battling for the rights, and as we know, Warner Bros. ultimately won.
“All together it was only a week of insanely furious scribbling things to the digital artists to create animations for mock game demos,” explained a Nintendo employee who worked for NST at the time. At that point, three of the studios projects, Ridge Racer 64, Bionic Commando and Crystalis, were put on hold as the Potter Pitch was underway.
Ultimately however it seems there was a bit of a spat over the art-style of the game where the Artists had originally opted to keep the game looking similar to the first book’s British cover, that was until Nintendo Bosses stepped in to change it to a more Japanese manga style.
“It went against all my instincts based on what I had read quotes from JK [Rowling] about keeping it strictly British,” the employee explained. “I had to revamp my initial designs and go more manga/Japanese – I had a big fight about that, but my boss insisted.”
As we all know, the right were eventually sold to Warner Bros., which then offered game adaptation rights to EA, who made games for each book, and funnily enough, a Quidditch spin-off.
Here’s what Hogwarts would have looked like if Nintendo got their hands on the rights: