Better late than never
Hogwarts Legacy invites players to take a journey to the magical school for witchcraft and wizardry. However, their adventure there is only for a short time, encompassing the fifth year of their studies. Some players might wonder why you start as a fifth-year student in Hogwarts Legacy, and understandably so.
Why do you start as a 5th-year student in Hogwarts Legacy?
The answer to the question of why you start as a fifth-year student in Hogwarts Legacy is quite simple. When the game begins, a cutscene plays, and you are invited to attend the school with Professor Fig escorting you to the magical school in the Scottish Highlands.
Oddly enough, the game brushes entirely over the reason for your admittance late into the school track for Hogwarts students. Normally, students are admitted when they are a kid, allowing them to attend Hogwarts for a total of seven years. However, your older character is let into the school more than halfway into the usual education track for students, Anakin Skywalker-style.
The reason for this is never officially given. The game completely ignores this glaring issue and acts like it’s not a huge deal. This can feel like an excuse, at best, for your character to join the school. Sadly, you can beat the entire game without ever learning why you were admitted late. The only hints are that your character exhibits some unbelievable latent power. But even that isn’t convincing enough.
How old is a 5th year student in the Wizarding World?
Just for your information, a fifth-year student in the Hogwarts universe is roughly around 16 years old by the time the school year ends. As such, it is likely that your own player character is roughly 15 or 16 years old at the start of Hogwarts Legacy.
Other possible reasons, explained
With the official “reason” out of the way, we can also speculate on the more practical reasons. It is highly likely there are some behind-the-scenes explanations for your character being a fifth-year at Hogwarts.
The first likely explanation is that developers at Avalanche didn’t want your Hogwarts Legacy character to be too young. Making your character a fifth-year at least has them be a late teen who is nearly an adult at that point.
This makes it a bit more digestible that your character is running around independently saving the wizarding world and doing things like casting the killing curse. In addition, having your character as a fifth-year means that you can learn advanced spells.
Instead of starting over as a first-year from the beginning, you can jump in and immediately learn useful spells. Being an older student also gives some leeway for a possible sequel. A potential Hogwarts Legacy 2 can explore your character in their older years or even move on to someone else.
Many possibilities are there because you aren’t a young character expected to follow in the footsteps of someone like Harry Potter. This makes it so future games don’t have to show every year of your Hogwarts enrollment. These are the best guesses for why you are a fifth-year in this game.