Hogwarts Legacy, an upcoming action RPG developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment under its Portkey Games label, is scheduled for release for Microsoft Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S in 2022.
In the game, which is set in the late 1800s in the Wizarding World, players can select their character’s voice, body type and placement in the school dormitories, which is seen as a step forward following a series of transphobic comments from series creator J.K. Rowling.
At the start of the game, players will be able to create a character that has a masculine or feminine voice, regardless of their body type, according to sources familiar with the game’s development. Players can then choose either witch or wizard, which will determine their dorm assignment at Hogwarts and how they are addressed.
In June, Rowling, 55, was accused of transphobia after responding to a story titled: Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate. Her tweet read, “‘People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
In a follow-up comment, she wrote, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
Rowling, who is reportedly not directly involved in the game’s development, was quickly denounced by several of the Harry Potter film’s stars, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. In addition, members of the game’s development team rejected the author’s transphobia and insisted that Hogwarts Legacy be inclusive by enabling character customization.
One of the most profitable film franchises, the Harry Potter series is the third-highest grossing of all time, with $7.7 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, Rowling has sold more than half a billion books, more than any author in history.
Last month, gaming journalist Liam Robertson revealed that Troy Leavitt, a senior producer at Avalanche, had posted dozens of YouTube videos attacking feminism and “social justice.” He also supported Gamergate, a group of gamers known to harass progressive journalists and game developers. After Leavitt’s actions were disclosed, ResetEra, one of the largest gaming forums, implemented “a total ban on threads for promotional media” for Hogwarts Legacy.
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