Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world game set in the Harry Potter universe, will reportedly enable players to customise their characters gender identity and customise their physical characteristics. This increased effort to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity most likely follows the comments made by the creator of ‘Harry Potter’, J.K Rowling, who in the past has made transphobic comments. Without a release date set, Hogwarts Legacy has been pushed back already for a 2022 release.
Character customisation will include transgender options
This week, Bloomberg announced that Hogwarts Legacy will allow users to alter their character’s voice, body, type, and gender placement for the school dormitories as a stride towards inclusivity. Seeming how a large proportion of the Harry Potter fanbase is made up of the LGBTQ+ community and due to J.K Rowling’s transphobic comments, it appears that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc felt that this was a step in the right direction.
The game is set to release in 2022 by publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc and developer Avalanche Software. Like many open-world action RPGs, players will create their characters at the start of the game. They can also customise their character to speak with a masculine or feminine voice, no matter the appearance of the character’s body (according to people familiar with the game’s development, Bloomberg said).
After character customisation, players will select one of the two options, “witch” or “wizard”. Either choice will determine the dorm they get placed in at Hogwarts’ magical school and how other characters in the game address them.
This level of customisation is not new to the gaming world; Cyberpunk 2077 - which was released late last year - also allowed for the full customisation of characters (where you could even customise genitalia, regardless of gender). Sims 4, released in 2016, also enables players to make characters outside of the gender binary.
This is still a significant development for Hogwarts Legacy, as last Summer, Rowling expressed numerous views that were widely criticised for being transphobic. Those statements also led many Harry Potter film stars such as Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint and (social rights activist) Emma Watson to condemn Rowling’s actions.
Fans, however, aren’t too impressed
These comments also shook many of the people working on Hogwarts Legacy. As a result, many fought for this character customisation and the addition of a Transgender character. Although, some fans are expressing that this new aspect to Hogwarts Legacy does not go far enough to change their stance on the game.
Twitter user LauraKBuzz wrote that “this news story about Hogwarts Legacy’s apparent character creation options doesn’t go far enough for me to change my stance on the game. Lots of games without transphobes attached already offer this. Not gender locking character options isn’t enough to fix this”.
This news story about Hogwarts Legacy's apparent character creation options doesn't go far enough for me to change my stance on the game. Lots of games without transphobes attatched already offer this. Not gender locking character options isn't enough to fix this. https://t.co/lHnV1H0l7q— Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) March 2, 2021
Laura further expressed that “ it’s still supporting Rowling’s properties. WB Games still won’t publicly denounce Rowling’s views. WB Games CEO hasn’t changed his ‘being publicly transphobic is just an opinion, and shouldn’t be criticised’ stance. It’s still produced by a known right-wing [arseh*le]”.
The thread goes for five more tweets, expressing how large corporations only include these transgender options to appease the masses for past controversial actions. While many are excited by this news of Hogwarts Legacy promoting inclusivity for the trans-community, it appears that there is a lot of push back from fans who agree that this is nothing new and not enough.
However, the game is not set to release until 2022, so there is still plenty of time for new LGBTQ+ positive developments.