If one checks up on the recent conversations surrounding Hogwarts Legacy following the announcement of a State of Play dedicated to the game later this week, they will find the internet divided. The discontent primarily revolves around Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and whether the game, which is based on the franchise, should be played or ignored.
This Twitter user's post explains one side of the coin as she requests players not to "promote her (JK Rowling) stuff."
But others, such as @XXoni, feel that the hard-working developers who worked on the game should not be shortchanged just because the franchise creator has an opinion that differs from theirs.
Hogwarts Legacy is an upcoming RPG being developed by Avalanche which will let players experience the life of a student at the famed school in the Wizarding World. Given that the game is firmly rooted in the controversial author's Harry Potter universe, the discussion surrounding the title has left players divided.
For some, buying and playing Hogwarts Legacy is similar to supporting J.K. Rowling's transphobic comments
The quoted Twitter post reacts against those who are streaming Hogwarts Legacy, even if for fundraising. According to them, at the end of the day, it empowers J.K. Rowling. Given that she holds the IP of Harry Potter, any product based in the same world will earn her "cultural capital."
She further pointed out that even though she ran a Harry Potter-themed show on Twitch as a non-binary person and wished to "reclaim" the world, she understood that it still empowered the author.
Voicing a similar opinion, user @KamiAnya1 sees purchasing the game as being supportive of Rowling's views, and would only serve to empower those who think along the same lines.
The reactions to this post have varied between those who are torn between buying the game or boycotting it and those who want to get the game for their love for Harry Potter and an appreciation for the developers. The latter is based on the notion of separating art from the artist and that the developers should be compensated for their work.
One user, @brown_fgc, called on others to realize that boycotting the game would hardly affect Rowling's well-being too much, while lifelong fans of the franchise would be depriving themselves of art they enjoy because of something "petty."
The issue at play here is how the J.K. Rowling's involvement with Hogwarts Legacy — or anything to do with Harry Potter — is one that is absolute and cannot be disregarded. Even the notion of separating art from the artist cannot work, and more so for Rowling, who absolutely wishes to be in control of her work.
The question therefore becomes whether buying a game for a certain amount of money will be a litmus test for a person's moral standing. For a number of people on this tweet, that seems to be the case. For others, they simply wish to play the long-awaited game.
While it is one of the most beloved franchises of all time, any association with the Harry Potter universe has been mired in controversy due to Rowling and the transphobic stance that she has steadfastly taken about on social media. Even in the case of Hogwarts Legacy, it has been repeatedly stated that J.K. Rowling played no part in the development of the game.
The developers even mentioned that the game will feature the possibility of creating a transgender character for players to experience. The world of Harry Potter is a diverse universe that has championed the notion of inclusivity and not living in the closet. Finding out that the creator of the said world is transphobic has been a jarring experience for many.
Rowling's tendency to revisit her work and add information to it has been happening for a number of years. For some, it was an excellent opportunity to learn more about their favorite universe, while others noted that she was trying to make the Harry Potter world inclusive. However, a number of her posts on Pottermore were also found to be implausible and, at times, insensitive.
For @FirePerhaps, purchasing anything based on the works of Rowling would prevent them from sleeping at night. They link it to bolstering those in power who stand against trans people.
J.K. Rowling faced a justifiably extreme amount of flak for her opinions once her stance regarding trans issues became known, especially with her tweet regarding Maya Forstater.
She later published a mammoth essay in 2020 titled "J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues" discussing her stance and the reasons behind it.
With her continued protracted defense of her position, and her repeated exultations on social media based on them, have made J.K. Rowling the controversial figure she is today. All of this has contributed to making Harry Potter a topic that people choose to delicately engage with. For context, even several actors from the films, including the trio, have disagreed with the statements she has made.
The social media divide on the issue of Hogwarts Legacy and Rowling showcases the different opinions that players and members of society have regarding the matter. And it seems unlikely that this divide will be completely bridged. Only time will tell how much that affects Hogwarts Legacy.