Harry Potter RPG Hogwarts Legacy Character Creation Adds Trans Options
Whichever you choose, witch or wizard, it’s up to you.
One of the most contentious titles in the video game industry today won’t even be out until 2022 at the earliest. We’re talking, of course, about the Harry Potter RPG, Hogwarts Legacy. And, no, the ironic fact that it’s got “Legacy” in its title doesn’t escape us, because it’s the legacy of the world-famous franchise’s creator J.K. Rowling that’s driving much of the conversation behind what should be a highly anticipated video game. Now, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Avalanche Software are attempting a bit of damage control by introducing a socially conscious and progressive change to their game’s character creation mechanics. But is it going to be enough to bring fans back to the fold?
Let’s back up a bit. It’s no surprise that the multi-billion-dollar franchise has developed an RPG, though it is a bit surprising that it’s taken this long to bring one to the fandom. It follows on the heels of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a mobile game that features friendly Hogwarts classmates from all walks of life and lets players have a pretty wide range of options in how they want their characters to appear. That was a welcome change from the controversial comments made by Rowling regarding the trans community.
Those comments, which can be recounted here, were denounced by some members of the Harry Potter film franchise and the trans community at large, while other actors defended Rowling, who also had feminist allies with her. It’s an ongoing conversation that shows little sign of either side budging or moving closer to a compromise. The Devs behind Hogwarts Legacy are now caught in the middle. So as Bloomberg reports, the inclusion of trans-friendly character creation in the game may be a step towards smoothing relations with angered Harry Potter fans.
Apparently, during character creation, players will be able to select a masculine or feminine voice, one that’s not tied to whatever your character’s face or body happens to look like. Players will then be able to select “Witch” or “Wizard”; it’s this choice that will determine how people refer to you in-game and which dorm you’re assigned to. (That information comes from an anonymous source inside the game studio and is familiar with development of the title.) That’s a step towards representation and inclusion, and while it’s still a binary system, it’s one that is at least starting to broaden the spectrum of the human experience and reflect it in the virtual world, even the Wizarding one.
Some programmers are pushing for that level of progress within the studio while others, like Avalanche’s senior producer Troy Leavitt, certainly don’t seem interested in doing so. Leavitt made numerous antifeminist and anti-“social justce” YouTube videos while also supporting Gamergate, starting around 2016. Oddly enough, Leavitt’s been rather quiet since that information came to light but has previously said that Warner Bros. didn’t have an issue with his YouTube content. It’s also worth noting that those videos only ran for about two years during the height of Trumpism. Make of all of that information what you will. The reality is that Hogwarts Legacy has to walk a fine line between honoring the legacy of the franchise’s creator and that of the fandom who will make ther voices heard with their wallets and their social media accounts. Expect more drama than not as we look forward to the game’s potential 2022 debut.
The new sci-fi drama isn’t afraid to explore the concept of grief.
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