The upcoming Harry Potter game, Hogwarts Legacy, will have a broad and flexible character customisation tool that emphasises inclusivity. It goes in the complete opposite direction to the heavily transphobic comments made by JK Rowling and the support of Gamergate by a producer on the project
The news comes via Bloomberg, with reporter Jason Schreier detailing the character trans-inclusive customisation options. Players will be able to create their character with body type options and a choice of character voice that is not then tied to particular genders in the game. Instead, regardless of the character choices you make, you can then select between being a “witch” or a “wizard”, which are respectively female and male gendered terms in the Wizarding World.
It’s not clear if you will be able to create a character that identifies in the game as being trans, or choose pronouns beyond this, but it’s about as inclusive as you could expect from a typical video game. While there are still some notable examples which don’t get this right – Cyberpunk 2077 locks gender to voice, for example – it’s something that shouldn’t be seen as remarkable.
In fact, the only reason why this is being brought up, it seems, is because of Rowling’s transphobic public statements that were widely denounced, and the recent discovery that a producer on the game, Troy Leavitt, made YouTube videos with an anti-feminist and pro-Gamergate stance prior to getting the job. When some fans of Harry Potter already have a difficult time separating Rowling’s statements from the wider work in the fictional world, Warner Bros. have been cagey about if she will receive royalties and Leavitt’s position in the game’s development is not an encouraging sign.
The leak seems to be from insiders hoping to rehabilitate the game’s reputation and emphasise that some parts of the team are fighting to make it as inclusive as they possibly can. This includes pushing to have the character customisation included in the game and for a transgender character to be a part of the game world. The sources say that, while management has been resistant to this, character customisation is currently in the game.
Hogwarts Legacy is coming to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC in 2022 – so a lot can still change in the game. The project was originally planned for 2021, after finally being revealed in mid-2020, but was pushed back to 2022 with WB citing the ongoing difficulties of remote game development as the main cause.