A new Bloomberg report suggests Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world Harry Potter role-playing game, will have an inclusive character creator, allowing players to choose voice and body type unrelated to gender.
The character creator will allow players to choose one of two options: “witch” or “wizard,” which will put players in one of two dorms. This decision, however, has no bearing on what character is created — voice and body type are not tied to gender.
An inclusive character creator in Hogwarts Legacy is noteworthy due to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s history of transphobia. Over the past year, Rowling has made a number of transphobic comments on social media and in her blog. Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson are among the many celebrities that have denounced Rowling’s view. In September 2020, following a string of transphobic remarks, Hogwarts Legacy publisher Warner Bros. Games published an FAQ in which it stated that Rowling is not “directly involved” in the video game, but that her writing is the “foundation” of the project. Despite her lack of involvement, the game remains tied to Rowling’s legacy.
Controversy continued to follow Harry Potter Legacy into 2021, when journalist Liam Robertson published a Twitter thread about Hogwarts Legacy lead designer Troy Leavitt. Leavitt reportedly once hosted a YouTube channel stocked with far-right content and pro-GamerGate videos. Popular gaming forum ResetEra has since banned “promotional media” threads for Hogwarts Legacy — disallowing announcements, trailers, or “hype threads.”
On Twitter, Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier said that some Legacy developers are “sad and frustrated,” as “development of the game started long before Rowling’s anti-trans crusade.” Hogwarts Legacy developers reportedly “fought” to add an inclusive character creator and “a transgender character,” according to the report. Management reportedly resisted, but “currently the character customization is included in the game,” Bloomberg wrote.
Hogwarts Legacy is due out in 2022 and is set in the 1800s at the famous wizarding school. It’s coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.