Continuing on from where we left off in our last blog…it launches.
After five years of recording, we were pleased to celebrate the global launch of Harry Potter: Magic Awakened on Tuesday, June 27, 2023! We are so excited to have it out in the world! Read on to find out a little more about the anticipation leading up to the release and what we are looking forward to.
“When’s It Coming Out!?!”
Brightskull has been with this project since basically its inception, about 5 years as of 2023. With over 30 rounds being recorded and the same actors and characters coming back over those 5 years, round after round, you can bet that everyone started to get quite curious about when the heck they were going to see their characters come to life in their country!
For the first few years, Michael would do his best to give the actors a guestimate to the age-old “Do you have a date yet?!” question, but after a while he stopped trying to guess and just said “I don’t have a date, but we are just as excited as you!.” And now… we are so, so excited to finally be writing this blog and announcing IT’S HERE!
As we have built many great relationships within the global gaming community, it was really awesome to be able to see the reactions in Southeast Asia and China specifically, when it was released there in 2021. Being able to see the initial reactions to the game and seeing such a positive reception to it was really unique and cool.
Sales figures are cool and all(within two months of the game’s release in China, it generated over $228 million), positive reviews are always nice, but seeing actual fan-reacts was truly special. The polish and size of this game is very impressive and fans loved getting lost in the story and gameplay again and again.
Did You Think This Game Was Gonna Be So Big??
Since first learning about the project, Brightskull’s founder Michael Csurics knew that NetEase Games was pushing the quality bar. And NetEase knew that high quality content was the way to find the success they aspired to. From the beginning, everyone involved knew that this game was going to be special. We knew that the development was going to take as much time as needed to get it right – which turned out to be a long time! But so worth it.
One of Michael’s open secrets is that he cheerleads every venture that he and Brightskull are a part of. Brightskull believes that when given enough love, every project has the potential for greatness. We make sure that our team does everything we can to help drive success.
What Do We Hope For?
Because this project comes so close on the heels of the Hogwarts Legacy release, we hope that the audience grows as attached to these characters and this story as we have. Michael likens this to how he feels about the two teenagers he has at home – “I really love them with my whole heart, and my greatest hope is that the world receive them just the same”. That analogy really speaks to just how close Brightskull is to this game – it’s all of our labor of love.
Michael’s approach to directing is far from laissez-faire. Likewise, the team at Brightskull has not been a silent partner in this process to say the least. As we said earlier, we’re all invested. . There have been many wonderful plusses to being along on this ride from the get-go, one of them being that our innate collaborative spirit has been a welcome addition throughout this process. Michael and the team provide input at many points throughout the development process. If there’s a certain line or situation that a character is given and it’s essential for the plot, but maybe not totally true to that character, Michael will pipe in and provide alternative dialogue or suggest another character that may make more sense to carry that moment. Putting the project and its audience first is at the heartbeat of our approach to co-development.
In a project like this, there are no small characters in this game. Even if they only have a few lines of dialogue, their presence is impactful. So many times, characters come back four years later, and it’s important to all of us that we maintain the integrity of the original purpose and fingerprint of who this person is in our story.
Wait, What About Covid?!?
Oh yeah, that thing! Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is one of the handful of games that we have been with before, during, and after the pandemic.
When asked about fond memories from this project, Michael teared up recalling the first time one of our staple characters came to record in-person after the world opened up again. Brightskull has had a parallel growth trajectory alongside this project, and we recently opened the doors to our brand-new commercial studio and began inviting actors into our booths again. This is exciting on so many levels, but when the first actor for Harry Potter came into the studio about two weeks after our studio opening and stepped into the booth to record this very familiar role, Michael had to take a second. It was a real full-circle moment. He remembered where this project began, who we were as a company when we first joined on, what the world has been through during the pandemic and recording remotely through quarantine, and then afterwards. Seeing a very familiar actor come into new space and record this project that’s near and dear to us all and soon to be released… It was a huge moment that our Director holds dear.
Michael says, “It was such a powerful reminder of connection, our humanity, and our place in it. So much of the past three years I have been muscling through. I knew that I missed it and how important coming back was, but I wasn’t allowing myself to engage with the part of me that needed it. There’s a joy in that – obviously the reconnection, but also I remember the first recording session I ever did as a director, my takeaway was ‘I could do this forever and be happy.’”
Here Michael is twenty years later, and he is misty at the sight of a voice actor in his booth and grateful that he gets to do this thing that makes him happy every day, and see projects that are so special, like Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, come to life before his eyes.
We would be remiss not to mention that we would like to dedicate this launch to Brad Venable, our original Voldemort, a beloved actor and friend that we lost during this project.
This is for you.