E3 2001: Hands-onHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

We take a peek at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, EA's upcoming game based on the wildly popular novels.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first of a handful of Harry Potter games from Electronic Arts that will be available later this year to coincide with the release of the Harry Potter feature film. It is the only one of EA's current slate of Harry Potter games that's being developed for the PC, and the game is clearly aimed squarely at Harry Potter fans and the film's projected audience. As a result, it's a very simple game intended for 8 to 12 year olds.

It's a third-person action/adventure title that puts you in the shoes of Harry Potter. Gamers can expect to encounter all the major characters from the books, which will be modeled after the actors playing them in the movie. You can walk around the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, learning spells and solving simple puzzles. Because EA is aiming it for a younger audience, there are lots of things to do, and the game moves forward fairly quickly. Later areas will add some variety, and there will even be a mini broomstick-racing game.

The game is powered by the Unreal engine, so it runs in both software- and hardware-accelerated modes. The demo we were shown was running at a steady framerate on a Pentium II 233, so expect very low system requirements. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone isn't going to thrill hardcore gamers, but it should please fans of the books when it's released this November.

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