Nintendo wanted to buy the rights to 'Harry Potter' in the 1990s

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but “Harry Potter” is a huge deal. Back when the book first blew up and everyone wanted a piece of that pie, there was a mad dash to buy the rights to turn it into video games, movies and more.

Warner Bros. won that battle and turned “Harry Potter” into what we know it as today. One unlikely company was in contention, though: Nintendo.

Harry potter nintendoUnseen64Nintendo’s vision of Hogwarts.

Yes, the family-friendly video game giant wanted exclusive rights to make “Harry Potter” video games in perpetuity. This was dug up by Unseen64 last year in an interview with some anonymous employees who gave us precious few details about the arrangement.

Two small teams at Nintendo worked on concepts for a third-person adventure game and a Quidditch game to pitch to J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Nintendo’s plan was to acquire the rights and produce adaptations of each future book in the series that would coincide with each book’s release.

According to Unseen64, there was an internal conflict at Nintendo over how the characters should look. Artists initially wanted them to resemble the first book’s cover, but the higher-ups at Nintendo demanded a more Japanese, manga-inspired look.

This was, of course, before the movies existed and we all had an easy mental image for how each character looked. Unseen64 could not publicly share Nintendo’s character concept art.

Unfortunately for Nintendo, J.K. Rowling was looking to sell the rights to a company with far greater resources, one that could bring her world to multiple forms of media, not just video games. Warner Bros., obviously, fit that bill much better than Nintendo ever could.

Had this deal somehow, miraculously gone through, the “Harry Potter” film series may not have happened at all. Considering the childlike wonder that permeates the “Mario” and “Zelda” games, one has to wonder what Nintendo’s vision of Rowling’s masterpiece would have been like.

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