Electronic Arts was close to making a Harry Potter MMO, but decided to cancel the project due to “changes” at the publisher. There was also a lack of faith that the Harry Potter franchise would remain popular enough for the game to be a success.
This information comes from Kim Salzer, the former director of product marketing at EA (2000–2003). In a recent interview with The Real Brandolorian, Salzer was asked about canceled projects, which is when she mentioned the Harry Potter game.
A big one for me, because I was so personally involved in it and it’s such a huge IP that has lived on, is a online massively multiplayer game for Harry Potter,” Salzer said (via Polygon).
This canceled Harry Potter title would have used an “offline/online” model where players would be mailed physical prizes to go with the in-game achievements.
The game did make it to the beta stage of development, Salzer stated, but EA decided to pull the plug. “EA was going through some changes at that time, and they just didn’t know, or believe enough, that that IP would have a shelf life longer than a year or two,” Salzer explained.
EA was the former rights-holder for the Harry Potter game license and they took advantage of it, making many titles before the license moved to Warner Bros. The next big Harry Potter game is Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world title set before the events of the films. It’s supposed to release in 2022.