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J.K. Rowling ‘not directly involved’ in creation of Hogwarts Legacy game, Warner Bros. says

The original Harry Potter author did not write the new story

a Hogwarts student holds a wand in a wand shop as an elderly man looks on in Hogwarts Legacy Image: Avalanche Software/Warner Bros. Games
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling did not have a direct role in the creation of Hogwarts Legacy, the newly announced Wizarding World role-playing game, according to an FAQ from publisher Warner Bros. Games.

“J.K. Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World,” WB says in the FAQ. The company also notes that Hogwarts Legacy “is not a new story from J.K. Rowling.”

While the answer is not entirely clear on whether Rowling has contributed to the project in any capacity, it suggests that her involvement is limited at most. This news should come as a relief to players interested in experiencing the world of Harry Potter through an open-world RPG, a dream decades in the making for many Potter fans.

Asked for further details, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment — the parent company of Hogwarts Legacy developer Avalanche Software and Harry Potter gaming label Portkey Games — told Polygon that it did not have any further comment beyond the game’s announcement press release, the FAQ, and a statement released by Warner Bros in June.

J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comments have offended many longtime Harry Potter fans. She made transphobic remarks on Twitter in June, mocking a headline about “people who menstruate.” These comments, and her doubling down over the summer — including in a lengthy essay later that month in which she attempted to explain her views — have led many critics to label her a TERF, an acronym that stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”

This week, Rowling published a new book, Troubled Blood, which some critics are concerned will perpetuate the author’s anti-transgender beliefs. The story revolves around a cisgender man who dresses as a woman to commit murders.

Some longtime fans are unwilling to separate creator from creation, and have started removing their beloved Harry Potter items from their lives. For disappointed fans, this boycotting of Rowling’s works may extend to Hogwarts Legacy.

In June, Warner Bros. issued a statement after Rowling’s initial comments, although the statement did not directly name her:

The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues. Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.

While the Hogwarts Legacy FAQ says Rowling was not involved in the game’s creation, the author will presumably earn royalties from the project, as she still profits from the entirety of the Wizarding World universe. And it’s telling that Hogwarts Legacy’s creators felt the need in the first place to address Rowling’s involvement in the game via an FAQ published upon the game’s announcement.

Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world RPG set in the world of Harry Potter in the late 1800s, a few decades before the Fantastic Beasts films and a century before the birth of the series’ titular character. Players will experience an original story inside the walls of the titular wizarding school.

Hogwarts Legacy is scheduled to debut in 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.