Warner Bros’ RPG behemoth Hogwarts Legacy is almost here, but in light of Harry Potter author J.K Rowling’s staunch anti-trans right’s beliefs, the game is under a spotlight of controversy. In response to the large-scale backlash, game director Alan Tew discussed the concerns many have with the game’s release.
In an interview with IGN, Tew explained that the game started development way before Rowling’s views were publicly known. Back then, the Harry Potter franchise was beloved by a diverse audience with a large LGBTQ+ fanbase, including thousands of trans people.
The game director explained that the game was made for that diverse audience. Despite the ongoing controversy, the team at Avalanche Studios continued to make the game fans dreamed of decades ago, even amongst the unprecedented backlash.
"I think for us there are challenges in every game we've worked on. This game has been no different. When we bumped into those challenges, we went back and refocused on the stuff that we really care about,” Tew said. “We know our fans fell in love with the Wizarding World, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons," he said. "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."
In the interview, IGN asked for a second time whether or not Rowling’s comments changed morale of development. However, Tew was cautious to mention the controversial children’s author by name. Instead, the game director simply stated that the game is for everyone, including trans fans of the Wizarding World, if they can forgive Rowling.
Hogwarts Legacy’s controversy has stretched since its announcement, and has only stayed in the spotlight since then. Following the announcement of its voice cast, main voice actor Sebastian Croft apologised for his involvement in the game.
“I was cast in this project over 3 years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with,” Croft said on Twitter. “This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views. I believe whole heartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men.”
Alongside Croft, Hot Fuzz and Star Trek actor Simon Pegg was also criticised for his involvement in the game. However, the Hollywood actor has not openly addressed the controversy surrounding his role as the game’s Headmaster.
For those still interested, Hogwarts Legacy launches February 10th on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. Those on last-gen consoles will have to wait until April; Switch players have a slightly longer wait until July 25th.