Hogwarts Legacy will allow players to customize their own Hogwarts student for the Harry Potter-themed wizarding world RPG. According to a report by Bloomberg, this will include choosing their character’s voice, body type, and gender for the school dormitories, all separately from one another, meaning players can create transgender characters if they wish.
When players first enter Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they’ll be asked to create their character’s body shape and pick a masculine or feminine voice that is completely independent to those body choices. After that, choosing between “witch” and “wizard”—again, independent of previous choices—will decide which of the dormitories players will live in during their stay. After creating their own student, players will then move on to the house selection process.
Some members of the Hogwarts Legacy dev team had been pushing hard for this, uncomfortable with Rowling’s position and rattled by the effects she has had on a game they’ve put a lot into
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 2, 2021
Character customization like this is no longer unusual in role-playing games, but it’s noteworthy in Hogwarts Legacy because of the controversial transphobic comments of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Following those public comments form Rowling, publisher WB Games sought to distance the game from the author, stating she was “not directly involved in the creation of the game,” even if it is based on the world created in her novels.
The publisher later clarified Rowling was “entitled to express her personal opinion on social media” but this didn’t mean the team agreed with her views. While Rowling is not directly involved with the game itself, she will still earn royalties on it as the creator of the Wizarding World. Additional reports since the outcry against Rowling have uncovered controversy surrounding Hogwarts Legacy’s lead designer, Troy Leavitt, who used to maintain a controversial YouTube channel filled with anti-feminist and other contentious views.
Developer Avalanche Software—or at least part of the development team—has apparently pushed for efforts to make the game extremely inclusive, with some of the reported character customization options being made in response to the outcry. Apparently the team also sought to include a transgender character too. There was resistance from management (unclear whether this was at Avalanche directly, or from WB), but at least the character creator options are currently part of the game. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier says that with game more than a year out, things could potentially change in the future. So far, Warner Bros has failed to comment on the report.
Hogwarts Legacy will be set during the 1800s, long before Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley ever entered the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, players will have to wait a bit longer to see what the school was like during that time. The game was delayed earlier this year. Hogwarts Legacy will now release in 2022.