SAN FRANCISCO — Nothing lasts forever, not even the magical “Harry Potter.” But don’t tell that to Electronic Arts, the company that produces the “Potter” video games for Warner Bros. EA hopes to make the Boy Who Lived continue to entertain game fans, even after the two-part “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” has bowed out of theaters.
“I think that’s a great opportunity,” Wiimote-clutching “Harry Potter” executive producer Jonathan Bunney told MTV News last week at an EA summer press event. “Certainly, we’ve done it with ’Lord of the Rings.’ We’ve extended beyond the movies there. We did it with James Bond for a while. I don’t know what we’ll do with ’Harry Potter.’ It’d be fun to, I think. There’s more stories that we can tell.”
As Bunney points out, this isn’t without precedent. This fall, EA will release “Lord of the Rings: Conquest,” a multiplayer action game modeled after the “Star Wars: Battlefront” series. “Conquest” is an alternate-timeline take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series that lets players become evil and control the forces of Sauron.
Right now, Bunney and his team in London are focused on finishing up the video game version of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” but that doesn’t stop him from speculating on what the future might hold for the boy wizard.
“There’s an opportunity to go back to the original movie,” he said. “The technology has moved on so much. When we were first making those games, we were making it for PlayStation 1, and now we’ve got, you know, the Wii. I think there’s opportunities to [revisit stories].
“We have to figure out whether anyone wants to buy those or not!” he added with a laugh.
There might be a few people who’d pay for more “Harry Potter” adventures, Mr. Bunney: The last book sold more than 11 million copies in just 24 hours.
One of the most popular rumors among “Harry Potter” aficionados is the prospect of a massively multiplayer online version of Hogwarts, in the vein of “World of Warcraft” and “EverQuest.” Warner Bros. has said it’s interested in producing an online “Harry Potter,” and so is EA.
“We’ve talked about it a lot,” Bunney said. “The reality is that we’re focused on the movie games. I think there could be a fun MMO for ’Harry Potter.’ ”
But for now, there’s work to be done. “Half-Blood Prince” is almost finished, and Bunney’s eyes are craning toward “Deathly Hallows” and the challenge of making a game (or two) based on a movie that’s being split in half, a first for the series.
“We haven’t really thought about what we’re going to do yet, but it’s going to be really exciting,” Bunney said. “Obviously, it’s a great opportunity to make two games, but I want to make sure we make two great games. We don’t know how close those movies are going to be, how far apart they’re going to be and where they’re going to cut them in half.”
“Half-Blood Prince” was scheduled to release alongside the movie in November, but Warner Bros. has since pushed the film to the summer . EA has not confirmed a similar delay, but industry analysts expect it to follow in Warner Bros.’ footsteps.
For much more about interactive “Harry Potter” games, check out the Multiplayer blog.