Order of the Phoenix
You won’t be surprised when I tell you that videogame tie-ins with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are slated to release alongside the film. It’s a long-standing tradition. Unfortunately, despite having an (I’ll gladly admit it) rich world, ripe for exploration, the previous game versions of Mr. Potter’s films have been mostly awful. Rather than continue to shovel the same manure on the greedy public (those inexperienced with games, but fully aware of Harry Potter) the developers at EA UK are attempting something a little different for OotP.

The success of the Harry Potter books has never been the fiction for me, but rather that excellent world-building that Ms. Rowling employs. She makes Hogwarts a place I’d like to roam around in, sure of turning up secrets around every corner. That’s why I’m pleased as hell that the Order of the Phoenix game will adopt the sandbox structure of games like Grand Theft Auto and Bully. As Harry, you’ll have a plot to follow, but the gameworld will also be littered with side missions for you to attempt at your leisure. It’s a good fit for the franchise, and it has the potential to tap into the appeal of the books much better than have previous game attempts.

But wait! There’s so much more. The game will be yet another swan song for the PS2, but will also see release on the Wii. I’m holding out high hopes for the game, based on its ambition, because it’s exactly the kind of game the Wii needs right now: something with wide appeal, reliably absorbing gameplay, and an effortless association with the Wii remote. Think about it, gesturing wildly with your remote to manipulate your wand on-screen… It’s the kind of thing that makes me quiver. For the record, the following also make me quiver: new socks, Pringles, and design shows.

No word yet on whether fan-fiction readers and writers will be able to enact their Draco/Harry romance fantasies.