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Hogwarts Legacy gets a 20-minute gameplay reveal this week

PlayStation’s new State of Play focuses on the game after a year of controversy

Two Hogwarts students flying over water on hippogriffs in Hogwarts Legacy Image: Avalanche Software/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The first gameplay footage from Hogwarts Legacy will be shown Thursday, March 17 at 5 p.m. EDT in a PlayStation State of Play livestream devoted to the upcoming Harry Potter game. Avalanche Software and WB Games told fans on Monday that the 20-minute broadcast will show about 14 minutes of Hogwarts Legacy gameplay on PlayStation 5.

First announced during PlayStation’s PS5 Showcase in September 2020, Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world adventure set at the famed wizarding academy sometime in the 1800s. The project has drawn criticism and controversy from the start, largely because of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s history of transphobic statements and writings. The day after it was revealed, Warner Bros. Games tried to put distance between the game and Rowling, saying she was not directly involved in its creation.

But the controversy hardly stopped there. In March 2021, two months after Avalanche Software announced Hogwarts Legacy was delayed into 2022, the game’s lead designer left under a cloud created by his YouTube channel, where he expressed sympathy for Gamergate and espoused other right-wing cultural grievances.

A Bloomberg report, also in March 2021, suggested that Hogwarts Legacy’s “witch or wizard” character creation engine was being designed for gender inclusion — meaning players could choose voice, body type, and other characteristics without making them gender-essential. Developers at Avalanche were said to be demoralized by the ongoing controversy, as their work on the game began before Rowling made herself and the Harry Potter franchise a lightning rod for transphobia.

News about the game itself has been scarce since the September 2020 announcement, so it’s anyone’s guess what Thursday’s showcase will highlight. The character creation would seem to be a likely candidate, though, as well as a good sense of the game’s going-to-wizard-school milieu and set design. Hogwarts Legacy does not yet have a concrete launch date; perhaps that will be revealed, too. The game will launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

The Hogwarts Legacy State of Play can be viewed on Twitch or YouTube. It’ll be followed by a post on PlayStation Blog with more details about the game.