Nintendo tried to buy the exclusivity rights to Harry Potter in order to make a series of games based upon the books, a report from Unseen64 claims.
The hardware and software manufacturer reportedly wanted to make a Harry Potter series complete with a Quidditch spin-off game, though they were rejected by author JK Rowling who eventually chose to partner with publisher Warner Bros.
Hogwarts, as imagined by Nintendo artists.
Nintendo pitched a few concepts to JK Rowling, though they were rejected in favor of a £1 million (roughly $1,520,000) bid from WB, who contracted EA to develop the Harry Potter games, none of which were received particularly warmly. Another stopping block for Nintendo was the company’s higher-ups rejecting the designers’ concept artwork, which retained a distinctly British look in keeping with the novels’ tone.
According to an ex-employee, Nintendo wanted to go with a more manga-esque visual style for the games. “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.”
Nintendo’s vision for Hagrid’s Hut
Nintendo made the bid in 1998, after JK Rowling began looking to sell the rights to it in order to turn it into a large media property. Truthfully, considering all of the other companies scrambling for the exclusivity rights, with even Disney throwing its hat into the pile, it was never likely that Nintendo would close the deal with Rowling.
Still, it’s intriguing to imagine Nintendo getting their hands on the license, and it likely would have led to much better games than the ones we were eventually treated to. There was a lot of potential for a truly fantastic series of Harry Potter games given the source material, but Warner Bros. and EA squandered that opportunity with a series of lazy cash-ins.