Hogwarts Legacy, the recently released role-playing video game based on the Harry Potter novels, has been making rounds online after it introduced the franchise's first transgender character. This is amid the controversial views of the novels' author, J.K. Rowling, on transgender people.
The game, which is set to launch on Feb. 10, takes place in the Wizarding World universe and has players taking the role of a young wizard who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart.
The game will let players attend classes at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as well as visit other magical places that will prove significant to their adventure.
One of the places that can be visited in the game is Hogsmeade Village, where you can have the opportunity to talk to a character named Sirona, a witch who runs a tavern.
While her dialogue does not outrightly state that she is transgender, her choice of words is highly suggestive that she is part of the queer community. When talking about her old classmates, Sirona says, "Took them a second to realize I was actually a witch, not a wizard."
This hints that the game's creators, Avalanche Software and Warner Bros. Games, want to be more inclusive towards the transgender community, who have been the subject of negative remarks from Rowling.
The best-selling author has garnered criticism since 2019 because of her statements about transgender people. This started when she posted her support for a researcher named Maya Forstater, who lost her job following tweets attacking the transgender community. Many said that by defending Forstater, she was justifying transphobia.
Several Harry Potter stars have also voiced their disapproval of Rowling's views, such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
The developers of Hogwarts Legacy have made it explicit on their website that Rowling was not involved in the creation of the game, but that they still "collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect." Moreover, she also still receives profit from the game as she owns the intellectual property.
Alan Tew, the game's director, addressed these concerns in an interview with IGN.
"We know our fans fell in love with the Wizarding World, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons. We know that's a diverse audience. For us, it's making sure that the audience, who always dreamed of having this game, had the opportunity to feel welcomed back. That they have a home here and that it's a good place to tell their story," he said.
As of writing, Hogwarts Legacy has already broken the record on livestreaming platform Twitch for being the most-watched single-player game.