The Wizarding World has conjured a new enchantment in the form of Hogwarts Legacy, a video game mimicking student life at Hogwarts, and to many fans of the Harry Potter universe, it’s proof this beloved property doesn’t need J.K. Rowling to thrive.
Rowling, the creator of the Wizarding World, has been under ridicule due to her views on transgender rights. This lead to sites like the Gaming Forum focused Resetera to blacklist Hogwarts Legacy, meaning that they will not support anything regarding the game.
However, it’s important to note Rowling had no creative involvement with the upcoming game, but due to the nature of her role with the intellectual property, she will most likely receive royalties from the success of Hogwarts Legacy.
This has not stopped Avalanche and Portkey Games, the developers behind Hogwarts Legacy, from showing support for the transgender community.
The player’s student life in Hogwarts Legacy will take them to Hogsmeade; a bustling village that’s a short stroll away from Hogwarts. It’s there where they’ll meet Sirona Ryan; the barkeep of The Three Broomsticks. Sirona is a transgender woman.
In an interview with IGN, Avalanche said this was intended from the beginning, as they wanted Hogwarts Legacy to represent the variety of fans that enjoy the Wizarding World.
Rowling’s views do not represent the Wizarding World as a whole.
While this is definitely a win for those worried about representation in Hogwarts Legacy, the looming idea that Rowling will still benefit from the success of the game still leaves a bad taste for many of the fans.
Now that the facts have been laid out, allow me to give my take on the situation.
Avalanche Software, Portkey Games and all the various outside help for the game encompass hundreds of people who have been toiling away at this project for some five years and possibly more.
To blacklist a product for the actions of one individual person seems pretty short-sighted to me, especially since there was no creative involvement from Rowling in the first place.
I do agree Rowling has been rather inconsiderate in the way she’s conveyed her opinion on transgender rights, but she is only one, albeit prominent voice that doesn’t know the true value that comes with a productive fanbase.
This shines true in my experience with Hogwarts Legacy so far. While I have not explored every corner of Hogwarts’ famous halls, I can say I haven’t had this much fun with the Wizarding World since the last Harry Potter film released in 2011.
The moment I was allowed to freely explore Hogwarts, I immediately felt the same sense of wonder I felt when I first watched “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.” The big difference between the movie and the game is the player being a key part of the story.
Creating my own student, learning new spells, attending classes and getting lost in the famed wizarding school has been an absolute joy as someone who enjoys everything Harry Potter.
Well, mostly everything anyway.
Rowling’s efforts with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and it’s various sequels have been solid at best and abysmal at worst. This shows in the overall reception for the films—with the third film being especially noticeable—as it showed up on many worst films of 2022 lists. I honestly wasn’t sure if the Wizarding World could ever live up to the Harry Potter books and films but then along came Hogwarts Legacy.
The future of the Wizarding World is in good hands if more creative entities, like Avalanche Software, are able to create interesting content through a variety of mediums. The care for the source material, and what made Harry Potter so intriguing, has been carefully preserved through the care given to Hogwarts Legacy.
If such an effort goes to waste all because of difference in opinion, then that would be a bigger disappointment than anything Rowling has written since the original books were finished.
Star Wars and Marvel Comics have been able to move on without their original creators, and the Wizarding World can survive without input from Rowling without a doubt.
When controversial opinion drifts into massive multi-media franchises like this one, it can cause a ripple effect that will echo far into the future. I only hope Hogwarts Legacy will be a special case that pushes through controversy by showing unbridled quality.
According to Steam, one of the leading PC gaming marketplaces, the average concurrent players who are experiencing Hogwarts Legacy numbers at the time of writing is about 500,000 people. Judging by this number, I would say it’s entirely possible for video games to be the new norm for the Wizarding World and no Rowling required.