There has been a raging debate growing around Hogwarts Legacy since the release trailer dropped in 2020. It has been further kicked into overdrive with the dedicated State of Play event for the game.
Players have been divided in their response towards the title, with both sides pitting their opinions on social media.
The debate has been fueled by the controversy surrounding Harry Potter's author for the last few years. J.K. Rowling's stance on trans issues and the protracted defense of her comments have made her unpopular among many.
Given the title is set in her IP's world, the conversation has expectedly steered towards whether to play it, given Rowling's involvement in the project.
Why are players speaking out against purchasing Hogwarts Legacy?
In the beginning, it must be stated that Warner Bros. has tried to make it clear that J.K. Rowling has had no part to play in creating the new story that players will play in Hogwarts Legacy, although the title does have her blessing. The official statement goes as follows:
"Each experience offered under Portkey Games will take place in the wizarding world and will be authentic to it. J.K. Rowling is supportive of Portkey Games and has entrusted the design and creation of the games to Warner Bros. Games and the developers involved.
It further states:
Her team have also collaborated with Warner Bros. Games on all aspects of Hogwarts Legacy to ensure it remains a true part of the Wizarding World experience and is in line with the creativity and magic that fans expect.
The controversy surrounding Rowling is referring to her transphobic comments that became apparent with her tweet regarding Maya Forstater in 2019. She spoke out in support of Forstater, a researcher who had been fired for her views regarding biological s*x.
This stance came as an unexpected shock to many who considered the wizarding world of Harry Potter to be one that affirms diversity with love and acceptance. The replies under the tweet showcased numerous people being disappointed with the author's remarks, while a few others felt JKR was right in what she said.
Furthermore, her 2020 essay on the matter, titled "J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues," cemented her opinions regarding the issue and the movement. Her tweets and comments expounded on her opinions regarding the construction of the woman's identity and what she felt threatened it.
For many, Rowling's responses on social media fan the flames of transphobia and TERFism — trans-exclusionary radical feminism. They have mentioned that her comments threaten one of society's most vulnerable communities, as was shown in a 2017 report and in multiple other studies.
This winding, truncated look at Rowling's social media presence provides a glimpse at the crux of the issue driving gamers to decide against purchasing or buying Hogwarts Legacy in the act of protest.
For them, even though Rowling is not explicitly involved in the project, engaging in it still gives her cultural relevancy and royalties to propagate her transphobic views further.
Others have mentioned that art must be separately viewed from the artist. They wish to play the game not only because it is a world that they have grown up with since their childhood but also because they want to support the developers' hard work into making Hogwarts Legacy.
Given the matter's sensitivity, with how much the wizarding world has defined people's childhood and J.K. Rowling's defiant stance, it is not a trivial issue that can be quickly resolved or navigated. For now, it does not seem like the debate surrounding Hogwarts Legacy will subside anytime soon.