Hogwarts Legacy Will Reportedly Include Transgender Witches And Wizards
The pink, white, and blue flag is flying high above Hogwarts castle, as the latest reports suggest Hogwarts Legacy will include the option of transgender character creation. Despite a behind the scenes' scandal with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling - and Warner Bros. Interactive parting ways with her - the open world prequel is making sure diversity is at the forefront. With Hogwarts Legacy moved from its original release into 2022, details are starting to emerge from what could be the most exciting Potter game since we saw pixelated Hagrid in the PS1 Philosopher's Stone.
In the world of Harry Potter, inclusion was always supposed to be the order of the day, with the book series and subsequent movies stealing a magical place in many people's hearts. This illusion was somewhat shattered last year when Rowling made a series of divisive remarks about the transgender community. Instead of apologising, the author doubled down on her remarks in a lengthy op-ed and caused a fissure across her Wizarding World. WB Interactive was quick to respond, and assured players Rowling had nothing to do with Hogwarts Legacy - although she will receive royalties from it.
Could Hogwarts legacy include transgender witches and wizards?
According to Bloomberg, anonymous developers from Avalanche Software have said there will be transgender characters within Hogwarts Legacy. As with most modern open world games, you'll be able to customise your character in a variety of ways. Games like Fallout 4 and Cyberpunk 2077 are no stranger to this, with the latter also championing the idea of transgender customisation options. Sources from Avalanche wanted to remain anonymous, but the site writes, "When players start up the game, they will be able to create a character that has a masculine or feminine voice no matter what their body looks like, according to people familiar with the game’s development".
Players will apparently select either "witch" or "wizard" to decide which dorm they will be assigned to, but after that, they're free to customise. Although Bloomberg asked WB interactive to comment on these claims, the publisher refused before the outlet published its article. Bloomberg furthers goes on to add that developers have been trying to make Hogwarts Legacy as inclusive as possible, which was reportedly met by "resistance from management at first". If there are transgender witches and wizards in Hogwarts Legacy, it will be a major leap forward for not only the game, but the Wizard World in general.
Since Rowling's comments, the cast of the movies have largely rallied around the transgender community. Katie Leung (Cho Chang), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) and Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) all made their feelings clear, and in the immediate aftermath, the big three of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint also agreed "trans women are women". Leung was among those called out Rowling's books for lack of diversity in the first place, so it's a positive step that Hogwarts Legacy could be implementing transgender character creation.
Last year, WB Games president David Haddad addressed the Rowling issue in a Q&A with staff. While firmly saying he didn't agree with the author's comments, he said Rowling had a right to her opinion. The comments toed the line between making the company's stance clear and not insulting Rowling, however, critics called him out for not being more direct.
Even as the shadow of Rowling's comments hang over the wider Wizarding World like a Dark Mark in the sky, the ongoing movie franchise and likes of Hogwarts Legacy are seemingly trying to do their bit to reassure fans inclusion is still at the core of what Harry Potter was supposed to be about. With Hogwarts Legacy still a year away, we'll have to wait and see whether transgender witches and wizards will get to explore the grounds of that iconic school.
Images via Warner Bros. Interactive