Hogwarts Legacy Review: Warner Bros. Games’ upcoming Harry Potter video game, “Hogwarts Legacy,” despite the controversy surrounding Potter author J.K. Rowling and calls to boycott the game, is showing early signs that it could be a hit.
Despite not coming out until February 10, the game has already surpassed the sales of other highly anticipated titles like “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II” and “Destiny 2” on the popular game distribution platform Steam.
Until Tuesday, it had also outsold other soon-to-be-released games like “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor” and “Dead Space” in the PlayStation Store’s “coming soon” section.
An open-world RPG, “Hogwarts Legacy” places the player in the role of a Hogwarts student in the Harry Potter universe in the nineteenth century.
Despite Rowling’s recent backlash over anti-trans comments, early sales data suggests the game could be a blockbuster.
The Rowling controversy dates all the way back to 2020 when Rowling tweeted: “If sex doesn’t exist, then the experiences of women all over the world don’t matter.
Even though I have a lot of respect for transgender people, I believe that eliminating the concept of sex will hinder many people’s ability to have meaningful conversations about their experiences. The truth is never hateful, even if it is unpopular.”
Since then, Rowling has doubled down on her position, leading some to call for a boycott of “Hogwarts Legacy,” including transgender YouTuber Jessie Earl (aka Jessie Gender), who has nearly 200,000 subscribers.
In a December tweet, Rowling addressed Earl’s call for a boycott, writing, “doesn’t realize purethink is incompatible with owning ANYTHING connected to me, in ANY form.”
Excited for the release of @HogwartsLegacy? Here’s an exclusive look inside the game’s magical making-of book, which goes on sale from @insighteditions next month! #HogwartsLegacy @PortkeyGames @wbgames https://t.co/INm4taGoDY
— Josh Weiss (@JoshuaHWeiss) January 10, 2023
On the game’s FAQ page, Warner Bros. Games clarifies that Rowling had no hand in developing the game and that it is “not a new story from her.”
When the game was announced, Warner Bros. Games said, “J.K. Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World.”
Simon voices Phineas Nigellus Black in Hogwarts Legacy, the upcoming open-world, action role-playing-game set in the 1800s wizarding world which launches on Feb 10. @hogwartslegacy @avalanchewb @wbgames. #HogwartsLegacy
— Pegg News (@simonpegg) January 11, 2023
To make sure the game is consistent with the “magical experiences fans expect,” it was stated that “we have collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game.”
Insider reached out to Warner Bros. Games for comment on whether or not Rowling would be paid for “Hogwarts Legacy,” but received no response. The world of Harry Potter, however, is entirely under Rowling’s command.
— Hogwarts Legacy (@HogwartsLegacy) January 11, 2023
In 2013, after the final film in the original series had been released, Warner Bros. reached an agreement with her to release new content based on the Harry Potter universe, including the “Fantastic Beasts” films.
It’s unclear how things have progressed since, but Warner Bros. seems to have taken care to not let the controversy over the author’s transphobic comments ruin its relationship with her.
— Hogwarts Legacy (@HogwartsLegacy) January 10, 2023
In response to her initial comments in 2020, Warner Bros. issued a statement in which they did not name her but said, in part, “We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in November that the company would be “having a real focus on franchises” and that he was interested in doing “something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward,” implying that the company not only needs to collaborate with Rowling on any future content but is also willing to do so.