Gamers logo

I was never going to buy Hogwarts Legacy …

… so why in the world are you?

By MaxPublished 8 months ago 7 min read
I never realised how much that imperative bugs me in video game adverts ......

I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a few days. It’s about Hogwarts Legacy so if you're tired of hearing about the "wizard game" don't read. It's fine, honestly you deserve the break because it has been everywhere. But the people buying it have been being very, very weird about it.

Let's make three things clear straight out of the gate. Firstly; trans rights are human rights.

Secondly; the main criticisms of Hogwarts Legacy have been the antisemitic aspects of the game itself, and that buying it supports Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who is a leading voice against the rights of trans people in the UK specifically, but also in the world at large. These are both true facts. But I'm not Jewish or trans, and it would be better to listen to Jewish and trans people give their opinions on the game rather than mine.

Thirdly; I wasn't a Harry Potter fan as a kid. I read the first three in university and they’re just not for me (ask me about the Alex Rider series and that’s a different story). I also don’t buy AAA games. Well, that's not entirely true. I’ve bought exactly two upon release: DOOM and The Master Chief Collection. (This’ll become a little more relevant later, just stick with me.)

So, am I boycotting Hogwarts Legacy? Well, technically, no, I'm not. Even in the universe where JK Rowling isn't hanging out with some of the shadiest people on Earth or bullying a Graham Norton off of twitter for suggesting we should listen to trans people about the struggles they face, I would not be buying Hogwarts Legacy. Why would I? It's a AAA game about a franchise I'm not interested in. I'm not alone either, there's loads of people who won't buy Hogwarts Legacy precisely because it's a AAA game about a franchise they don't care about.

But there also seems to be lots of people who don't normally buy AAA games and don't particularly care about Harry Potter who are buying it and for the life of me I don't know why.

Okay, fine, I bought two AAA games before. I bought DOOM 2016 after seeing my friend playing the demo and just thought "damn, that's cool" and pre-ordered it myself. The gameplay in DOOM was (still is!) phenomenal, it's fast-paced, it's hectic, it's fun and it's cathartic. There are some brilliant gameplay mechanics in there that work around a tight central idea. Your high-speed, the glory kill power-ups and no-reloading all encourage and motivate the player to run into the middle of the action and start wrecking stuff rather than take cover and wait for your health to regenerate. In addition, DOOM looked great. Creative monster design, effectively updating the demons from the 90's games to the modern day with new attacks and weapons on top of their new design. The whole game has a bright and colourful palette (quite unlike the 2000's games) with a fantastic use of lighting to emphasise drama and storytelling. In short, I bought DOOM because it looked brilliant. The previous DOOM games had been ... fine? I suppose. But it was the rebooted 2016 game and the amount of work put into it that brought me on board.

Hogwarts Legacy doesn't do any of these things the gameplay seems a little bit bland, just throwing spells at enemies and moving around. The graphics seem very generic. It just looks like a standard run-of-the-mill game. All the environments I've seen have looked grey and grim, with a few interior scenes lit by candles. It doesn't do anything for me.

But you know, I'm not a big Harry Potter fan, but I am a colossal Halo fan. I bought the Master Chief Collection when it was announced on steam almost instantly. Halo: Reach is one of my favourite games, for it's great story and wonderful tone. As I've mentioned I never really played the Halo games until a few years after they came out. But I was into the books, comics and stories coming out of that world. It was a fascinating universe with a dark, almost tragic setting. I was fascinated by the more "realistic" science-fiction dystopia of the UNSC floating in the middle of the Forerunner's high-level science fiction and world-building you see in Dune or Foundation. Pepper in the Covenant's religious fervor and technology worship that wouldn't be out of place in Warhamer 40,000? It's just about everything I love in sci-fi mashed together into one! So knowing that I'd get to play that game with my friends for the first time (for me) ever.

In all honesty? I would probably buy a Halo RPG even if it was crap. I am in love with that universe and those worlds. I can totally get why a Harry Potter fan would buy a crummy looking game if it was part of a setting they love and want to explore more. But ... how many people are there like that out there? Harry Potter hit it's peak in the late noughties and it's been re-releases and reissues of the original books, and some movies that even Harry Potter fans agree are a bit rubbish that have been keeping it going. A large portion of Potterheads (is that what we call them? Doctor Who fans are Whovians, Star Trek fans are Trekkies, Harry Potter fans are Potterheads, right?) have fallen off as J.K. Rowling starts to be known less and less for writing beloved children's books and more and more for weird tweets.

So, if it isn't a well-crafted game, and if it's a franchise who's fans are shying away, why has Hogwarts Legacy become the fastest-selling game on several platforms? Sadly, a quick look on twitter shows that it mostly seems to be transphobes buying the game, not because they're fans of Harry Potter or because they're looking for a good game but because they want to upset trans people.

Yeah there's a few hardcore fans in there, and a few people with ... let's call it a less strict idea of what makes a good video game than me. But the most vocal purchasers just bought it because there's controversy around it (if I can put on my tin-foil hat, I do have to wonder if this was a better marketing strategy than advertising the game normally). But on the whole, this is ... pathetic.

Yeah, "pathetic" works, there's no other word for it. Gaming is a hobby, it's something we do for fun, and we have these chumps who are buying a game not because they think it's a fun or innovative game, but because they want to make people angry. Not because they're fans of the series it's based on, but because they want royalties to go to a millionaire who's been spending her money fighting agaisnt LGBTQ rights (does it seem like JKR feels entitled to people buying her stuff? Or is that just me?). Not even because they want to see if it'll be as bad as people say like those who buy things like Daikatana or Balan Wonderworld to get some small amount of enjoyment from how much of a trainwreck something is, but because they want other people to be angry and upset with them.

Hell, I don't think it's even working. Most trans folks just seem a little disappointed and resigned that this game is going towards funding hate more than angry or upset.

I guess what I've spent far too long talking about is that I was never going to buy Hogwarts Legacy. I don't think a lot of people I don't think I can convince people not to buy it, but I do want people to think about whether they would have bought it if not for the controversy.

Anyway, I've been talking for too long. If you're desperate for an RPG set in a magic school then Kids on Brooms hasn't gone anywhere and is donating their profits to trans charities. Or you could look for a game created by trans folks, here's a nice list, and I'm sure there's way more out there. Game because you love gaming, buy a new game because it looks cool, or you think you'd enjoy it. Don't buy something because you want to make someone feel hurt.

And even if you don't want to hurt someone by buying Hogwarts Legacy. The chances are high that you're going to.

xboxrpgplaystationpcfeatureadventure games

About the Creator


My name is Max, English teacher in Japan, lover of video games, RPGs and miniature painting.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.