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Game On: Hogwarts Legacy release renews discussion of JK Rowling’s gender identity comments

origin 1A screenshot from Hogwarts Legacy ©Warner Bros Ents/Portkey Games

The fictional wizard Harry Potter has been an inescapable part of our lives for 26 years this summer, and the video game released this week will take fans even deeper into the so-called wizarding world.

The drop in play, however, was mired in contention.

Warner Brothers”Hogwarts Legacy‘ is, according to game critics, the most impressive video game to come out of the iconic franchise in its history.

Out this Friday (February 10) on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC, with PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch versions launching later this year, the game is embroiled in controversy.

The first release of a major Harry Potter game in a decade is facing a boycott from many former fans of the series, thanks to the views of wizard creator JK Rowling.

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The popular author is considered an advocate for women’s rights, but has faced increasing criticism for her stance on trans issues, which have increased since 2020.

Among other views, her views on self-identification, which allows trans women to enter same-sex spaces such as women’s prisons, have seen her attacked by transgender people and their allies, who refer to her as TERF (Trans Radical Feminist -exclusive) and claim he ruined his legacy.

Rowling denies being transphobic, but there’s no doubt her opinions will impact the game’s release, with many choosing to boycott it before it even hits stores.

Boycott and kickback

A Twitter video encouraging people to avoid the game amassed over nine million views; GameSpot’s website posted a piece on Rowling’s “anti-transgender” stance, and gaming forum ResetEra has banned all of its members from mentioning the game.

A Twitch streamer has even started a fundraiser for the Mermaids charity – which has been supporting transgender, non-binary and gender-differentiated youth and their families for almost three decades – asking people to donate the €56 cost of the game instead of buying it. The effort has so far raised around €8,000.

Despite the backlash, “Hogwarts Legacy” has been the subject of excitement from gamers and Harry Potter fans alike. Critics who have seen early copies of the game have given mostly positive reviews, praising its fidelity to the original books, graphics, and storytelling.


‘Hogwarts Legacy’ players will take on the role of a fifth year student of Harry Potter’s fictional school, Hogwarts, in the game set in the 1800s. It is said to be highly immersive, with players being able to roam the school, the nearby village of Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest and surrounding areas as they practice learning spells and making potions.

Interestingly, the game is said to include a trans character, a decision that has been hailed as “performative” on Twitter.

Eager to separate the art from the artist, Warner Brothers confirmed in an FAQ on the game’s website that Rowling was not directly involved in the creation of Hogwarts Legacy, but admitted to having “collaborated closely” with her team to the project.

However, before Friday’s release, the controversy is unlikely to die down. Actor Sebastian Croft, who provides one of the voices in the game, said he didn’t know Rowling’s opinions when she accepted the role, tweeting: “I believe with all my heart that trans women are women and trans men are men. “.

Croft joins stars of the Harry Potter films, including newcomers Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, in speaking out against Rowling’s comments.