Harry Potter is beloved by many — but the Wizarding World‘s ambitious new project could still be in troubled waters.
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There’s a brand-new Harry Potter experience on the horizon — but existing controversy could still weigh its official debut down.
What is the new Harry Potter installment about?
An official description of the brand-new Wizarding World project reads:
Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books. Embark on a journey through familiar and new locations as you explore and discover magical beasts, customize your character and craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and become the wizard you want to be.
Experience Hogwarts in the 1800s. Your character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart. Make allies, battle Dark wizards, and ultimately decide the fate of the wizarding world. Your legacy is what you make of it. Live the Unwritten.
With the newest Harry Potter project developed by Avalance Software for Warner Bros Games (WB Games) under the Portkey Games label, promising such an immersive experience for diehard fans, it’s no wonder that people are excited. On top of that, early reviews for the expansive, open-world franchise game are in — and the critics have spoken in favor of the new Wizarding World installment exploring Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
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Metacritic scores on the review aggregator have come out to an impressive 83 for the PC version of the game, while the game console PlayStation 5 (PS5) edition holds an impressive 86, at the time of writing. These impressive scores have come out by gaming-focused outlets like IGN, despite reported issues and bugs reported, as well as apparently repetitive enemy types within the combat system.
However, whether this initial hype will continue on is yet to be seen — similar early reviews raved about Marvel Studios’ latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Thor outing — with the final review scores and overall sentiment rating the film as one of the worst of the MCU. Will Hogwarts Legacy see a similar tank in ratings and public goodwill?
What is the controversy, and how could the new Harry Potter installment be affected?
Apart from the oft-documented controversy surrounding JK Rowling, Harry Potter‘s creator, and her anti-trans sentiments, the newest installment is embroiled in controversy of its own.
Goblins are a race of creatures within the Wizarding World universe who have been accused of being created with anti-Semitic worldviews in mind. The race of magical beings is fully sentient and sapient, possessing high levels of intelligence. Within the Harry Potter Wizarding World, they run the banking system and notably, Gringotts Bank (yes, the bank featured in the Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park!). Hogwarts Legacy unfortunately has a plot that concerns defeating Goblins as they plan an uprising, to demand Goblin rights and the ability to wield wands, painting them as evil antagonists for the player to defeat.
Now, you might be thinking: there must be fans out there who are willing to overlook this controversy. And you would be right — except the growing and rather vocal section of influencers willing to speak out against this new Harry Potter prequel, who have an audience demographic that very much aligns with that of the soon-to-debut game.
It’s not just massive gaming communities that have banned all mention of Hogwarts Legacy — well-known content creators in the gaming sphere have spoken out against the controversial Harry Potter game. This includes prominent Twitch streamer Veronica Ripley, who goes by the name ‘Nikatine’ online. Ripley is a Twitch Ambassador, meaning that she has significant clout within the gaming sphere, having been chosen by the number one gaming streaming website as one of 21 official Ambassadors in their creator program. Ripley writes on Twitter:
A statement on Hogwarts Legacy:
(text in image) On Saturday, February 4th, I was made aware of the extensive and blatant ad campaign for Hogwarts Legacy on Twitch, utilizing and interrupting streams to promote this offensive product.
Hogwarts Legacy is a product ultimately funding JK Rowling, whose well-documented stance on trans people remains firmly rooted in a callous disregard for human life.
Therefore, I will not be streaming to Twitch while this ad campaign remains active. I call on every streamer to join me in taking a stance against bigotry, hatred, and those who support such views.
A statement on Hogwarts Legacy: pic.twitter.com/qt3xnv7Peq
— Veronica 'Nikatine' Ripley (@NikatinePrime) February 5, 2023
It’s clear that there is a significant portion of people who don’t want anything to do with the game, as well as fans who feel indifferent or unwilling to splurge on the title, in addition to the controversy surrounding it. With video games, public sentiment can make or break a game’s release, and the developer studios’ public standing. Games rely largely on goodwill, with content creators promoting the product via Twitch livestreams or YouTube “Let’s Plays” showing off in-game content alongside colorful commentary, painting games in positive lights. Without significant backing from the gaming community, it’s possible that Hogwarts Legacy may see a sharp decline in sales after its initial release period, as enthusiasm and a consistent fan community dries up — especially if the title is plagued by the reported issues of bugs and repetitiveness.
However, that all remains to be seen — until after this Saturday, at least, for PC and PS5 users (Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One editions of the game come out April 4).
Do you think Hogwarts Legacy‘s release will be affected, even with the positive early reviews? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The Harry Potter tale spanning Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011) follows the eponymous Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his exploits in the hidden Wizarding World and at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Eventually, he unravels the mystery and destiny surrounding the cursed lightning bolt scar on his forehead, given to him by Lord Voldemort (Tom Riddle/Ralph Fiennes).
Other Harry Potter franchise installments include the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy video game, the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child both playing on Broadway in New York and London’s West End, the Fantastic Beasts film series starring a bevy of iconic wizards magical beasts, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed land within the Universal Studios group of international theme parks.