Game News Companions, character creation… Hogwarts Legacy more inclusive than JK Rowling?
In recent months, Avalanche Software has openly focused its communication around the magic of the universe and the settings of Hogwarts Legacy. But another important point to emerge lately: play in the Harry Potter universe will be inclusive. Varied profiles, non-gendered characters… Hogwarts Legacy seems to take the opposite of the usual triple A’s, even breaking with the controversial positions of its spiritual mother JK Rowling.
- Hogwarts, a school for all
- Hogwarts Legacy vs JK Rowling: a kind of disagreement
- A game attentive to its communication
Pre-order Hogwarts Legacy from €59.99 at E.Leclerc
Hogwarts, a school for all
Recently, we discovered our fourth classmate, namely Amit Thakkar. After Slytherin, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, it was therefore Ravenclaw’s turn to offer himself a worthy representative. And if the fans of the universe immediately began to debate whether or not he would be a real companion (character with his own narrative and able to accompany us on our adventures), another detail was raised, especially in the comments of the dedicated article : the profiles presented are particularly varied. We thus find a student from the school of witchcraft in Uganda and a student probably from Indian immigration. The characters in charge of character development have also done things well by looking for unknown first names for Westerners, such as Natsai who is of Zimbabwean origin and Amit, which is an Indian name particularly popular among Jewish boys.
While some may cry out for outrageous progressivism (raising more or less ironically the presence of one and only white man in this pretty cast), it is important to note that this diversity is not incoherent, on the contrary . The United Kingdom is known to be a multicultural country (especially due to its many former colonies) and this is not new. So it would have been very strange to see an almost monochrome Hogwarts. The Indian diaspora, for example, is very present in the United Kingdom. If it was mainly formed following the independence of India in 1947, many notables of the country had already decided to pack their bags for the head of the British Empire from the end of the 19th century. The same goes for Uganda (Natsai’s supposed country of origin), which is a very young British colony at the time of the events ofHogwarts Legacy: Hogwarts Legacy.
Besides, in the Harry Potter books and films, many were the characters representing different ethnicities and it didn’t seem to bother anyone at the time. Well, that’s what we remember. Katy Leung (Cho Chang on screen) has very bitter memories of the filming days, having had to deal with many racist comments on the Internet. Moreover Parvati, Cho, Dean or even Kingsley hold secondary roles in the adventures of Harry Potter and his band. Natsai, Amit, Poppy and Sebastian should be much more important characters, a bit like the Ron and Hermione of our hero, and give them varied profiles and therefore all the more appreciable. And since we are talking about Hermione, it is important to remember the discontent (with a generally racist tendency) that had been triggered by the casting of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in which Emma Watson gave way to black actress Noma Dumezweni. JK Rowling herself had taken the floor to denounce the remarks of those she described as a “bunch of racists”. For sure, she would be happy to validate the presence of such varied profiles in the Hogwarts Legacy game. In terms of gender, however, the game seems to position itself against the different positions of the creator of the Harry Potter universe.
Hogwarts Legacy vs JK Rowling: a kind of disagreement
As you most certainly know, a call for a boycott has been launched on the Hogwarts Legacy game. The reason is simple: JK Rowling, who has repeatedly taken transphobic positions, will receive royalties on the game (although she is not involved in its development). She also recently amused by the fact that, even if her remarks had made her lose many readers and fans, she slept without problem thanks to the checks of her royalties. Suffice to say that she is not the type to keep a low profile despite the controversies, which does not help Warner’s business. refusing to call out openly the author, the editor had all the same had to speak earlier in the year in the face of the controversy and the heavy threat of the boycott.
We would like to remind you that JK Rowling is not directly involved in the development of the game. We even add that it will be possible, in Hogwarts Legacy, to use inclusive options, allowing the creation of trans characters. We’re going to stay focused on the game we’ve built and the great work of studio Avalanche. We want everyone who loves the Harry Potter universe to love these stories and characters.
These inclusive options, they were also shown during the last gameplay presentation. And the least we can say is that Hogwarts Legacy is not limited to one genre. A great freedom will be visibly given to the players, without ever offering openly gendered archetypes. You are not asked if you want to embody a man or a woman but to choose one of the models offered or shape your own. It is thus possible to have a protagonist with fine features and a more feminine haircut, while giving him a man’s torso and a masculine voice. There are no real codes and it is therefore quite possible to embody a transgender character.
Only gender element: the qualification of witch or wizard. We are not talking about men or women, no biological element to take into account here. The important thing is to know if you want to be a witch or a wizard (necessary detail for the allocation of a dormitory). It may be the same for you, but this specificity, especially in view of the ongoing controversy, is far from trivial. And for those affected, that means a lot. But that’s still not enough.
Difficult for trans people or defending their cause to see their money go into the pockets of those who take malicious pleasure in fueling the controversy on this subject again and again. Essay on his vision of gender and sex, support displayed for personalities in the fight for LGB rights (as opposed to LGBT which includes trans people), promotion of a shop with transphobic messages (“Transactivism is misogyny” Where “Trans women are men”)… His positions were even praised and echoed by particularly conservative politicians and Vladimir Putin. And between two controversies, she enjoys writing a book about a man who would dress as a woman to kill people. Suffice to say that she does nothing to ease the tensions, thus showing herself to be hurtful towards a good part of the fans of her license who thought she was nevertheless won over to their cause… With her around, Warner and Avalanche are definitely walking on eggshells.
A game attentive to its communication
And that’s good, since the communication teams working around the title are particularly skilful and attentive. Without completely detaching themselves from the author, they manage to scatter here and there a few details that really change the game, without being too heavy. They don’t over-support the inclusive side of their game. If Warner had assured to offer tools of this kind, the presentation of gameplay did not dwell on it at all, making it only one detail among many others. Today, it is rare enough to be noted. If this kind of approach irritates, it is in particular because they are too often perceived as motivated by a self-interested need to do pinkwashing (being progressive and committed to LGBT rights to look good only). Hogwarts Legacy, by doing more in discretion, seems more sincere in its approach. Skillful communication process or simple desire to be discreet and simple? Hard to say, it’s true. But what is certain is that the game’s teams are particularly attentive to what the fans have to say.
Besides the fact that Chandler Wood is a particularly active and attentive CM (take a look at his Twitter account after each presentation, his zeal is quite remarkable), we feel that communication depends a lot on feedback from fans. Do you remember the pitch of Hogwarts Legacy? We were offered to follow the adventures of a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who had a somewhat special magic in him and had to learn to master it, all against the backdrop of the goblin revolution. The focus, during the first trailers, was thus placed on the antagonists of this game, namely Viktor Rookwood and the goblin Ranrok. Perhaps you have forgotten them for some time. It must be said that the latter suddenly disappeared from the communication around the title. While we still know very little about the context of Hogwarts Legacy, the teams turned to other details to present, such as the famous companions, the teachers or the different spells.
This is only a hypothesis but the controversy around the representation of goblins (considered as anti-Semitic) could well have had its small role to play in it. Given the care taken by the teams not to offend the fans, it is difficult to see this change of angle as a simple coincidence. Just as it is difficult to imagine them completely changing the scenario of the title. Ranrok will most certainly be present, perhaps a little less Manichean than expected. But this short break on the com side made it possible to forget this annoying controversy. Just as the current approach makes it possible to attenuate a little that gravitating around the remarks of JK Rowling.
So yes, Hogwarts Legacy will obviously be a very inclusive game. And yes, that is barely mentioned. It is thus a detail that many people will not even pay attention to, but which will mean a lot to those concerned. An intention that was worth raising.
Pre-order Hogwarts Legacy from €59.99 at E.Leclerc
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Companions, character creation… Hogwarts Legacy more inclusive than JK Rowling?
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