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Cinematic Trailer for Hogwarts Legacy; Wizarding Wednesdays Giveaways Announced
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros. Games have released the cinematic trailer for Hogwarts Legacy, the upcoming open-world, action RPG releasing for PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S and PC on February 10, 2023. The Nintendo Switch version of the game will be July 25, 2023. Finally, the Hogwarts Legacy Collector’s Edition for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One will be available April 4, 2023.

The cinematic follows an owl carrying the coveted invitation as it soars across the castle rooftops and over the heads of students in The Great Hall, providing an overhead view of some of the iconic Hogwarts locations that players will be able to explore. As the owl glides through the castle, fans will recognize some familiar names and faces, including Nearly Headless Nick and Professor Weasley. The owl’s journey also highlights some of the hidden dangers that players will face, as it narrowly avoids a horde of giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest, a deadly blast of Avada Kedavra from a masked wizard and a dragon’s fiery breath. 

Fans will be able to celebrate the release of Hogwarts Legacy with Wizarding Wednesdays! The four Wednesdays leading up to the game’s release by entering to win exclusive prizes, including a Universal Parks & Resorts vacation at either Hollywood or Orlando to experience the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Pre-Order the game at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon or Gamestop.

Previously, new voice cast, including Simon Pegg, were announced for the game. Pegg will be voicing Hogwarts Headmaster Phineas Nigellus Black.

In Hogwarts Legacy, actor Simon Pegg plays Phineas Nigellus Black, the cantankerous Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From a long lineage of Slytherins, Headmaster Black is hated by the students, for whom he also has a great disdain. Wildly ill-suited to his job, his goal is to do the least amount of work possible and avoid exposure to the student body – preferring to focus on his status in the wizarding world and his surgically manicured beard.

As fifth-year students entering Hogwarts for the first time, Sebastian Croft and Amelia Gething play the two voice options for the game’s playable avatar, which can be highly customized, enabling players to choose the witch or wizard they want to be.

Lesley Nicol voices a key character in the game, Professor Matilda Weasley. A Gryffindor, she is the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts who aids the player in catching up with the other students by giving them the Wizard’s Field Guide and showing them the Room of Requirement. Kandace Caine plays Professor Onai who was once a Divination teacher at Uagadou, the largest wizarding school in the world, and a gifted Seer whose faith in her sight was shaken by the fact that she did not foresee the loss of her husband. Deciding to leave those painful memories behind, she accepts an invitation by Professor Weasley to teach Divination at Hogwarts. The professor of Astronomy, Professor Satyavati Shah, is voiced by Sohm Kapila. Raised in the Muggle world, Professor Shah is devoted to the sciences and tends to talk down to her students in winding and pretentious aphorisms.

And longtime franchise fans will be thrilled to recognize Luke Youngblood, who played Lee Jordan in the film series as he returns to provide the voice of Everett Clopton, a Ravenclaw and an underachieving rule-breaker and prankster. Asif Ali voices another Ravenclaw student, Amit Thakkar, a bright and well-read student who would leap at the chance to help a friend in need, though, once in the thick of things, often realizes he might be better off reading about certain adventures than experiencing them. 

Jason Anthony voices both Nearly Headless Nick and the Sorting Hat. Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor house ghost, also known as Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, is friendly and entertaining, if a bit pompous. He may be the key to helping the Gryffindor player find answers crucial to solving a significant mystery – if they are willing to do him one small favor involving a bit of rotten roast beef! And finally, the iconic Sorting Hat, a sentient, magical hat, uses knowledge from the student’s past along with input from the player to determine which Hogwarts house will be the right fit.

Filed Under: Hogwarts Legacy, Portkey Games
Universal Parks Announce 13 New Interactive Wands to be Sold at Ollivanders
Posted by Megs

Universal Parks and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter have announced that 12 new Interactive Wands will be available for purchase at their theme parks around the world. There is also a 13th wand exclusive to each park!

A brand-new collection of authentic, interactive Ollivanders wands has arrived at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal theme parks around the globe, bringing 12 all-new wands  – plus an additional one that is exclusive to each destination – to Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Beijing Resort. 

Each original wand within the new assortment pairs a wood type with one of the three powerful cores preferred by master wandmaker Garrick Ollivander from the Harry Potter film series – unicorn hair, dragon heartstring and phoenix feather – and comes with a first-ever “wand lore” insert that details the distinct properties of that specific wand and the attributes of its ideal owner. Guests can also use the new wands to cast spells and reveal magical surprises with the right incantation and a gentle flick of the wrist at select locations within the spectacularly themed lands.

The new collection also brings a unique wand to each Universal park that is exclusive to that destination and not available anywhere else, including: 

larch and phoenix feather wand at Universal Orlando Resort

walnut and dragon heartstring wand at Universal Studios Hollywood

cherry and unicorn hair wand at Universal Studios Japan

red oak and unicorn hair wand at Universal Beijing Resort

Universal Orlando Resort & Universal Studios Hollywood shared videos of the wands, including their exclusive options.

Universal Studios Japan shared a photo of their wand:

Filed Under: Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Hogwarts Legacy “Overture to the Unwritten” Music Video Features Orchestral Performance
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros. Games and Avalanche Software released an orchestral music video to “Overture to the Unwritten” set over gameplay footage from the Hogwarts Legacy game. Hogwarts Legacy is scheduled to be released on February 10, 2023 on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. The Nintendo Switch release date will be confirmed at a later time.

“Overture to the Unwritten” features local studio musicians from Avalanche Software’s home state, Utah, including choir and orchestral members from the University of Utah, BYU, Salt Lake Symphony Orchestra and featuring renowned recording artists Nicole Pinnell, Nicole Klossner, Ryan Shupe, Abe Kaelin, Bart Olson, John Knudsen and Dune Moss. The video, filmed on location at big idea music studios in Sandy, Utah and Media Grabbers in North Salt Lake City, Utah, features the original composition by composers chuck e. myers “sea”, J. Scott Rakozy and Peter Murray and performed by a 54-piece orchestra conducted by Nathan Hofheins.

Projected behind the orchestra and interspliced throughout the music video, the original gameplay footage traverses throughout the Hogwarts Castle and the expansive surrounding areas including Hogsmeade, to reveal the vastness of the world. The orchestral song conjures a magical melody reminiscent of the Wizarding World fans are accustomed to while evoking an older descant from ancient lore. 

As of today, fans are now able to stream or digitally purchase “Overture to the Unwritten.” All of the additional music from Hogwarts Legacy will be available on launch day on the Hogwarts Legacy (Original Video Game Soundtrack). Additionally, songs from Hogwarts Legacy will be featured on a second album titled, Hogwarts Legacy (Study Themes From the Original Video Game Soundtrack), an album focusing on more ambient, chill, relaxing music that is ideal to listen to while studying for classes at Hogwarts or any school. Both albums will be released by WaterTower Music and will be available at all digital streaming services.

Update: A behind the scenes look at tha making of the music video has been released

In “Making the Music,” the team of composers and audio producers for Hogwarts Legacy take fans behind the scenes into some of their decision-making process and the complexity of creating new orchestral pieces set in the 1800s wizarding world. Composer chuck e. myers “sea” describes his experience working on Hogwarts Legacy over the last four years as a project that was truly a once in a lifetime. Audio Producer Nathan Ayoubi discusses how the music in Hogwarts Legacy enhances the overall experience for the player, being simultaneously new and fresh while also nostalgic. Composer Peter Murray shares how the team balanced this new original composition with the music of the films, while composer J. Scott Rakozy describes the music as childlike awe and wonder.

To create the ancient melody of Hogwarts, the team brought in unique instruments such as the “thunder sheet”—a giant piece of sheet metal—and a waterphone to make the sounds of magic. Since music accounts for every movement the player makes in the game, the composers were challenged to balance the darker side of the game with slow emotional strings to help guide the player and enhance the overall experience. Exploring the common rooms in each of the Hogwarts houses, the team infused different dynamic personalities through their use of music. The original score serves as an additional character in the game, immersing the player in the complex 1800s wizarding world. 

Filed Under: Hogwarts Legacy, Portkey Games
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Announces 2023 Events
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has announced its features for 2023, including a brand new event! Fan favourites Magical MischiefDark Arts and Hogwarts in the Snow will return as well as the new Discovering Hogwarts. Discovering Hogwarts brings visitors back in time to experience Harry’s early years at Hogwarts. Read on for details on each event!

Magical Mischief 

21st January – 18th April 2023 
Returning for a second year, filmmaking trickery, magical pranks and wizarding mishaps will be revealed as part of the Studio Tour’s Magical Mischief feature. Demonstrations will take place throughout the Studio Tour uncovering secrets behind the disappearing effect of the invisibility cloak and Harry’s flying acceptance letters. Visitors will even be able to get hands on to make their own origami howler, just like the one Mrs Weasley delivered to her son in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Discovering Hogwarts

2nd May – 4th September 2023
Just like a Hogwarts student, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will celebrate its 11th year with an invitation to the Wizarding school. Brand new for 2023, visitors will be invited to step back in time and learn the secrets behind Harry’s early years at Hogwarts. From his first acceptance letter to being sorted into Gryffindor and learning his first spells, this special feature running throughout Summer will shine a spotlight on Harry’s first years at Hogwarts. 

Dark Arts

15th September – 5th November 2023
Returning for the spooky season, Dark Arts will see the Great Hall ceiling decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins as well as a Hallowe’en feast of lollipops and red apples dressed along the tables. Visitors are invited to follow the Dark Mark trail, try their wand combat moves against Death Eaters in a live duel as they storm the Studio Tour, all before walking down a darker Platform 9 ¾ and an eerier Diagon Alley.

Hogwarts in the Snow

11th November 2023 – 14th January 2024
2023 will conclude with the return of the Studio Tour’s beloved Hogwarts in the Snow feature. Starting at the Great Hall, bedecked in the gold decorations from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, all the way through to Hogwarts castle model, fan-favourite sets throughout the Studio Tour will be displayed in their festive finery.  Learn the secrets behind ice that never melts and fire that doesn’t burn and see a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley and the magnificent Hogwarts castle model. 

Filed Under: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter
Merchoid Reveals Harry Potter Christmas Sweaters for 2022
Posted by Megs

Geek merchandise brand Merchoid has revealed their officially licensed Harry Potter Christmas sweaters for 2022! There are some returning favorites as well as brand new Hogwarts House designs! We’ve reviewed their sweaters in the past (2019, 2020) and have always enjoyed these ugly holiday sweaters.

Mrs Weasley has been hard at work this year, conjuring up new designs paying tribute to each Hogwarts House for our new range of Harry Potter Christmas Sweaters for 2022!

Distributing her designs to the Merchoid elves, each house has been exquisitely represented to all its glory in the finest of vegan-friendly acrylic threads. Gryffindors, Slytherins, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs can rejoice this festive season and relax in the latest (and dare we say most stylish) designs that wouldn’t look out of place in the Three Broomsticks or whilst shopping in Hogsmeade.

Regardless of if you’re still waiting for your acceptance letter or not, we’re bringing a bit of Hogwarts magic into your home, or your festive gatherings, for the holiday season.

There are currently nine designs available so be sure to check out the Merchoid website before they sell out! Here’s a look at some of the older designs from past years:

2019 Ugly Christmas Sweaters – Harry Potter
2020 Harry Potter Ugly Christmas Sweater

NOTE: If you are outside the UK shipping will be a bit slower, Merchoid estimates 10-15 days so be sure to order soon if you want to wear them this year!

Filed Under: Products
“Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” Returns to Universal Orlando Resort
Posted by Megs

Universal has announced the return of a fan favorite event to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. On select nights September 16 through October 31, guests will encounter Death Eaters in the streets of Hogsmeade and watch as a powerful dark spell is cast on Hogwarts castle – highlighting unspeakable creatures and sinister villains from the Wizarding World. It’s truly an amazing experience seeing the Death Eaters come out to play, we’ve experienced it a few times and it never disappoints.

The darker side of magic comes to life this fall in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando Resort with the return of Death Eaters and the breathtaking experience “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” – a sinister spectacle of state-of-the-art projection mapping, special effects, lighting and more that brings awe-inspiring moments and creatures from the Harry Potter films to life on the majestic Hogwarts castle. “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will run select nights September 16 through October 31 from dusk until park close in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

As darkness falls, an ominous presence will fill the land as the Dark Arts begin to take over the streets of Hogsmeade and cloak the stone walls of Hogwarts castle. Guests will come face-to-face with Death Eaters – devoted followers of Lord Voldemort known for their allegiance and practice of the Dark Arts – as they appear and eerily roam and lurk throughout Hogsmeade. Then, guests will watch as “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” unleashes the unspeakable creatures and sinister villains of the Wizarding World – including Dementors, Mountain Trolls and even a visage of Lord Voldemort – on Hogwarts castle until a Patronus – the result of a powerful defense charm of concentrated happiness and hope – is produced. 

Guests can also shop new Dark Arts-themed merchandise featuring the Dark Mark during their visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including mugs, hats, lanyards, tees – and even a Death Eater mask.

Filed Under: Universal Orlando Resort, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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