With Hogwarts Legacy here, we thought it best to address the elephant in the Common Room
WB Games and Avalanche Software’s Hogwarts Legacy is gradually rolling out to players now, with early access on February 7 and full launch on February 10. Video games don’t exist in vacuums though, and the creator of the Harry Potter series has been the center of issues souring the franchise. With that in mind, we wanted to take a moment to lay out the discussion, and how we’ll be handling coverage of Hogwarts Legacy here at Destructoid.
Hogwarts Legacy is a game set in the Harry Potter universe, taking place prior to the books. It all falls under the Wizarding World umbrella, as the world of Harry Potter has stretched beyond the book series written by its author, JK Rowling.
Rowling herself, however, has drawn significant criticism for her comments on transgender people over the years. In tweets and social posts, Rowling has echoed talking points commonly collated under the “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” label, or TERF. At times, she has compared gender-confirmation to conversion therapy, and boosted well-known supporters of this mindset.
Several outlets have put together excellent explainers on what Rowling has said, and why it’s harmful to her transgender fans. This GameSpot article neatly discusses much of it. And much of this has spurred a re-evaluation of the original works of Harry Potter as well, including elements present in Hogwarts Legacy like its approach to fantasy races.
In a FAQ posted on the Hogwarts Legacy site, the developer and publisher directly address Rowling’s level of involvement with the game:
Q: What is J.K. Rowling’s involvement with the game? Is this a new story from J.K. Rowling?
A: J.K. Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game, but as creator of the wizarding world and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World. This is not a new story from J.K. Rowling, however we have collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect.
Though Rowling is not directly involved, she still owns many of the rights behind the property and likely receives royalties of some amount from this like other IP holders would.
How is Destructoid handling Hogwarts Legacy?
As a site that covers video games, we aim to cover games in a way that best serves our readers. This means informing them, providing context, sharing new ideas, highlighting compelling discussions, and ultimately providing a valuable lens into the industry.
Hogwarts Legacy is on track to be one of the biggest releases of the year. It’s also a major franchise adaptation in a well-known IP — that alone is newsworthy. However, it’s also rooted in the original works of Harry Potter and its author — as the Hogwarts Legacy FAQ itself states, Rowling’s writing is “the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World.”
With that in mind, our own Chris Carter will be handling the review of Hogwarts Legacy. We’ll give it due criticism and context, the same we’d give to any other game. Destructoid will also publish guides for Hogwarts Legacy. And no writer who feels uncomfortable playing or discussing Hogwarts Legacy will be made to do so.
Our role in criticism and coverage is to inform, contextualize, and provide valuable insight. And we’ll endeavor to give Hogwarts Legacy the due critique any serious work is deserved.