Gamers are currently enjoying the early access period in Hogwarts Legacy, and tomorrow the game will actually launch. However, if you have been on the Internet in any capacity, you will be aware that Hogwarts Legacy remains a controversial topic, thanks largely to the views of the universe’s creator, J.K. Rowling.
Now the developers of Hogwarts Legacy have assured fans that Rowling has no connection to the game and the work on it, but given that it uses the IP created by her, and therefore she will benefit from it, this hasn’t exactly stopped a good amount of blowback in the game’s path. There are quite a few reasons why the controversy surrounding Hogwarts Legacy has persisted, and for those who are not exactly aware of the conversation, it can be confusing to understand why the Internet feels so divided.
The first and most important reason some have called for boycotts on Hogwarts Legacy is J.K Rowling’s anti-trans views. Again, although not associated with the development of the game, many have argued that supporting her IP by buying Hogwarts Legacy also supports the author herself. This has led to the trans community in particular calling on people not to play the game.
It was recently discovered that Hogwarts Legacy has actually introduced a transpersonal character, which is a first for the Harry Potter universe. While some have argued that this is a strong step forward for the franchise, it has been reported that the developers only included this character to turn the conversation away from Rowling and her controversial views. Even with this character, there is the argument that Hogwarts Legacy cannot just throw in a trans person and then cash in on the IP connections with the creator and her views. Essentially, by association with the Wizarding World, Hogwarts Legacy, indirectly or directly, aligns itself with the person behind it.
Another reason the game has found itself in hot water is because of the critical reception it has received. For the most part, Hogwarts Legacy has been very well reviewed. Some expected it to be bombarded because of the aforementioned controversy. With these positive reviews, some criticism has surfaced online arguing that there is a bit of a bias among these reviewers because of their fondness for the Harry Potter franchise.
Other concerns have been raised in the past that have more directly to do with the content of Hogwarts Legacy. With the story focusing on the goblin rebellion of 1890, some were concerned that it could have anti-Semitic overtones due to Rowling’s portrayal of goblins in the Harry Potter universe. While this has been a concern, the reasons for boycotting the game are still largely limited to its connections to J.K. Rowling and the profit it will make the author because she owns the rights to the Wizarding World.
Concerns about Rowling’s views on the trans community first emerged in 2018, and her stance was made clear in 2020 after a 3,000-word essay outlining her concerns about trans activism. Since then, anything related to Harry Potter has been the center of an ongoing storm of controversy, and it seems Hogwarts Legacy is the latest piece of media to land in hot water because of Rowling’s views.
Currently, people are boycotting Hogwarts Legacy by refusing to buy, play or support the game. There have been some more organized efforts now that the game is playable, such as streamers getting together to not broadcast the game, and there have also been bans on discussion about J.K. Rowling on the game’s subreddit and forum on Resetera. It has been claimed by the mods of hogwarts legacy’s subreddit that discussion of J.K. Rowling only leads to toxicity, and so mention of the author has been rejected. Clearly whatever side of the debate you find yourself on, this is a controversial topic that has sparked some interesting debates online about the games we play and the people we support by playing them.