Transgender activists are furious over the release of the Harry Potter-themed video game “Hogwarts Legacy” after labeling author J.K. Rowling a “transphobe.” They don’t want anyone reviewing or playing it.
Game developer Avalanche Software began working on the immersive role-playing game long before the controversy with Rowling started and has since attempted to distance the game from her.
“J.K. Rowling was not involved in the creation of the game,” the FAQ page on the game’s official site says. “While remaining true to J.K. Rowling’s original vision, Portkey game developers chart new territory by creating fresh ways for fans to immerse themselves in the Wizarding World.”
The game’s creators also included a supposed trans-identifying character who says at one point in the game: “I was actually a witch, not a wizard.”
But that effort wasn’t enough to assuage trans activists who don’t believe Rowling should earn any profits from her intellectual property and that, therefore, the game should not exist. Some game reviewers are hesitant to post their thoughts on the game because of the potential blowback.
TheGamer editor Stacey Henley congratulated herself for “not covering Hogwarts Legacy with a review,” and argued that taking an “all that matters is how fun a game is” philosophy to game reviews is “actively damaging to professional journalism.”
GamesHub reviewer Percy Ranson, who identifies as transgender, also refused to review the game.
“Hogwarts Legacy cannot and should not be judged solely on its own merits, because the end result of supporting this game financially and socially isn’t simply a matter of how much you’ll enjoy it, or how nostalgic it might be to experience the world of Harry Potter,” Ranson wrote.
“If you purchase this game – if you praise its qualities and encourage others to ‘support the developers’ or ‘treat yourself to a guilty pleasure’ – you are making a choice that will harm the transgender community, whether you want to admit it or not,” the review continued, also citing the example of Rowling’s potential royalty checks.
Some outlets did choose to review the game with reluctance.
“As critics, our job is to answer the question of whether or not we find Hogwarts Legacy to be fun to play and why,” a disclaimer on the IGN review says. “Whether it’s ethical to play is a separate but still very important question.”
The British pop culture website NME also gave Hogwarts Legacy a review while noting that it was “not an endorsement of Rowling’s opinions or comments,” while providing a link to LGBTQ charities.
Engadget senior editor Jessica Conditt wrote that it was “slightly frightening” to write the review, “knowing the condemnation I could receive.”
Ultimately, Conditt gave the game high marks and admitted that she enjoyed playing it.
Rowling has been labeled anti-trans ever since 2019 when she tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, who lost her job for asserting that biological sex is real. Over the years she’s also been critical of the radical trans agenda, mocking them for calling a rapist with a penis a woman and saying “people who menstruate” instead of “women.”
Because Rowling still holds Left-wing views on most issues, she’s been labeled by her opponents as a TERF, which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”