Hogwarts Legacy, the upcoming open world game set in the Harry Potter universe, will allow players to create transgendered avatars, according to anonymous sources inside development.
As reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, the character creation mode will enable players to choose “a masculine or feminine voice no matter what their body looks like,” and whether they will be addressed as “witch” or “wizard” by characters in-game. This will also determine which dormitory they will be assigned. No mention has been made of non-binary options at this time, though the game is still in development for next year and information may not yet be complete.
Hogwarts Legacy and the Harry Potter franchise have had their names tarnished recently by creator J.K. Rowling and lead designer Troy Leavitt. Rowling made comments last summer escalating her discriminatory view toward trans women—a stance vocally rebutted by actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. Meanwhile Leavitt owns a YouTube channel supporting GamerGate and attacking feminists within the gaming industry. While their views are not shared by all individuals at Warner Bros and developer Avalanche Studios involved with the project, Schreier’s sources claim that these inclusive options were met with “resistance from management” initially.
The freedom to choose a pronoun is a start, but the game still risks falling short of true representation without non-binary options. Ultimately, many within the LGTBQ community still do not wish to support a product that monetarily benefits a transphobic creator, despite the game’s own merits or any previous personal connections to the franchise. Warner Bros has refused to comment on Rowling or Leavitt, or the revelations from Bloomberg’s article.
When announced last September, Hogwarts Legacy promised to put “players at the center of their adventure to become the witch or wizard they choose to be,” while experiencing “missions and scenarios that will pose difficult choices and determine what they stand for.” The game is set in the 1800s, long before the events of the original series.