Since the official announcement, there has been a cloud of speculation about the most important aspects of Hogwarts Legacy, the Harry Potter RPG. In particular, how the game would handle character creation.
It may sound strange that a character creator would be the focus of so much attention, but there are good reasons for that. In the Harry Potter books, each character goes through the process of being sorted into a house, which immediately reflects something in itself. So for Hogwarts Legacy, a role-playing game that lets you embody your wizarding fantasy, it’s important for players to be able to create and inhabit a character that reflects how they want to play.
Another reason for the attention is because of the statements of the author of the book, JK Rowling. On Twitter and in essays, the author has taken a stand against trans rights, for example by advocating against allowing trans women into women’s toilets, by writing in one essay (opens in new tab) that “If you throw open the doors of bathrooms and locker rooms for a man who believes or feels that he is a woman … you open the door for all the men who want to get in.”
The developer of Hogwarts Legacy has confirmed this the game’s FAQ (opens in new tab) that “JK Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game”, nor has she distanced herself from the writer, going on to say “as the creator of the wizarding world and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, her extraordinary body of work is the basis of all projects in the Wizarding World. [W]They have worked closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it stays in line with the magical experiences fans expect.”
Here’s why, when tonight’s Hogwarts Legacy stream opened with a developer saying they’d show off the game’s character creator, it was so interesting: how would the game handle sex and gender? Would it reflect JK Rowling’s outspoken beliefs?
Much of the Hogwarts Legacy character maker is as you’d expect. You can choose from preset character builds, change your facial features, skin and hair color, hairstyle, and even choose glasses for your character. The all-round rim appeals to its Harry Potter-esque quality, but I might have to go for the semi-circular, crescent frames myself.
The last panel of the character creator allows you to choose between ‘Voice one’ and ‘Voice two’, with one sounding more masculine and the other more feminine, and after you’ve made your choice, you can change the pitch of your selection, at.
The final choice is whether you will be placed in the bedroom of the witches or wizards in the dorm of your house. There is no reference to gender throughout the creation process. You seem to be completely free to create a masculine, feminine sounding character, who has a bed in both dorms, without prejudice to the game’s tools.
After much speculation about how developers Avalanche Studios would handle this sensitive topic, it seems the team has threaded the needle right, allowing players to create avatars that represent and reflect the characters they want to play. Hopefully the same sensibility will work throughout the game with how you address other characters and how they address you.
For Harry Potter fans who have tested their relationship with the books through JK Rowling’s statements, this is an important step in making Hogwarts Legacy a welcoming space for them to play.