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Electronic Arts
Adventure & RPG
Release Date

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix
June 21, 2007 | Ted Bade

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Imagine the opportunity to experience the world of JK Rowling’s famous Harry Potter series through a realistic game on your Macintosh; to be able to roam the halls and grounds of Hogwarts, interact with the characters and creatures of the stories, and to actually take part in the adventure. This will become possible now that Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that they will be releasing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for MacOS X.

While this is a terrific thing for Mac gamers, there is one major caveat. EA is making the title available by way of Transgaming Technologies Cider portability engine. What does this mean to the Mac gamer? Cider makes use of the fact that new Macs have Intel chips in them. Since the game has already be developed to run on an Intel based chip, all that needs to be resolved are the calls to the Window’s OS APIs. This is what Cider does. The advantage of using Cider is that the game comes quickly to the MacOS X platform. The disadvantage is that you will need an Intel Mac to play the game.

What will the game be like? According to what was said at the WWDC07 keynote speech and other sources, The Order of the Phoenix will offer one the ability to roam the halls of Hogwarts, walking up and down the ever changing stairways and through it’s halls. Images in the pictures on the walls will be animated and there will be people and creatures to interact with as you explore. In this animated interactive world there will be hidden areas to locate and quests both minor and major to take part in. Electronic Arts has hinted at over 80 interactive locations at Hogwarts. Other locations include: The Minsitry of Magic, Grimmauld Place, and Little Whinging.

Interactive spaces in this game serve several purposes, mostly as a means of gaining new spells and information. But many of them are there just for fun. I have heard that one could spend a lot of time enjoying and exploring in this game. If done right, this could make The Order of the Phoenix game a really great one. EA says that it is moving away from the linear fashion of previous games like this, to a more non-linear and interactive type of game.

Some of the tasks a player will be involved with include interacting with portrait characters, discovering passwords and shortcuts (through the building), finding the “Room of Requirements”, and recruiting other students into the the DA (Dumbledore’s Army). There are also Wizarding games such as Gobstones, exploding snap, and Wizard chess one can play. Harry’s two best friends, Ron and Hermione, appear as NPCs, serving as sources of information and help. Although previous Harry Potter games were designed for the younger crowd, The Order of the Phoenix will be geared toward a broader range of players, with three difficulty levels to choose from.

The majority of the game takes place from Harry Potter’s view, but the player will also be the able to take on other rolls, such as playing Sirius Black as he defends Harry in the battle at the Ministry of Magic, or Fred or George Weasley as they leave Hogwarts and escape Professor Umbridge’s regime.


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