Fantasy books are one of the most incredible inventions of humankind, captivating the imaginations of children and allowing adults to maintain their sense of childlike wonder as they read the pages of a novel. One of these fantasy series that had a pivotal impact in my childhood was Harry Potter, and I’m sure it was the same for millions of children around the world. From its worldbuilding, character development, and modern themes, the series continues to be acclaimed and immensely popular due to the movies that were released over the past two decades, from the 7 original films to Fantastic Beasts.
Despite this, existing games encompassing the universe haven’t been as well developed as other franchises such as Star Wars. That has all changed with the release of “Hogwarts Legacy” on February 10th of this year, an action-playing role video game developed by Avalanche Software, where they promised fans to give them the game they had been waiting for this entire time. Beware, there will be much lore and terms from the Wizarding World.
A trailer first came out in 2020, showcasing a student coming to Hogwarts, insides of the castle, and different events that would take place in the game, like the Sorting Ceremony. Fans were excited, but the game had to be in development for much longer, especially during the height of the pandemic. Nearly a year ago, the brand had done their first Gameplay Showcase, reaching over a million views. They later released more gameplay showcases, behind the scenes videos, and 4k shots of different areas in the game like Hogsmeade accompanied with their unique music inspired by the movie soundtracks. Many of these videos showcased the different ways the developers wanted to show their love of Harry Potter, such as the Hufflepuff common room, which was not shown in the movies, along with areas beyond the castle grounds.
Another thing they showcased was their storyline: it was set in the 1800s, so the players could feel like the true main character in the game. They would be fighting against a goblin revolt, and alongside this, would be dueling more sinister enemies and taking classes to improve on their wizarding skills. The character makes friends along the way, and fights on quests with them.
Where “Hogwarts Legacy” was unique, though, among all of this, is that they don’t penalize characters for joining the Dark Arts. In other words, characters are not automatically put on one side with a clear nemesis, rather who they decide to become affects the rest of how they play. If players still want to fight the Dark Arts, on the other hand, that is more than welcome.
Players can also customize their wands, character’s looks to appeal to multiple ethnicities, and brooms at a special Hogsmeade shop. Thus, the game has tried to be very inclusive with fans of all different backgrounds, and allows them to be as clever as they’d like.
While all of this is substantial, there has been much controversy over J.K Rowling, the author of the book series, and her comments that have seemed to be transphobic and target the trans community in many ways. Many people have called for a boycott of the game since buying the game would be an implicit support of her and the multi-billion dollar universe she has built.
Another reason for boycotting was also the part in the story relating to the goblin rebellion, as groups of people have called out the goblins for possibly portraying anti-Semitic tropes. In response to these reactions, the Hogwarts Legacy team has stated that they were not directly affiliated with Rowling herself, but rather her team and took inspiration from her novels and movies. Secondly, there is a trans character in the game named Sirona Ryan.
Even with the dissension, the game has managed to sell over 12 million copies after 2 weeks and has generated 850 million dollars in global sales revenue. It has broken records on Twitch as well, becoming the most-watched single player game of all time. Numerous Youtubers and Twitch streamers have generated views through showing walkthroughs and full playthroughs of the game.
“Hogwarts Legacy” has been one of the most anticipated games of the year, if not the most anticipated. Considering its trajectory, it will most likely continue to shatter records and gain more popularity. Choosing whether or not to play the game however, is entirely up to you. If you do decide to play, have fun in the wizarding world and as the developers say, “live the unwritten!”