Hogwarts Legacy, the open-world Harry Potter game, has been a hotbed of controversy long before it was released. Several gaming outlets have refused to comment on it, while others have provided additional information to highlight certain issues that may have evaded the attention of many consumers.
J.K. Rowling's and transphobic rhetoric
J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series herself, is arguably the greatest influence on the field. Rowling was known for rather milquetoast centrist politics in 2020, such as mocking an article that referred to "people who menstruate" and equating the existence and notion of a gender spectrum and non-binary gender as "[eradicating] the lived reality of women globally." Nevertheless, she often joins transphobic organizations like the LGB Alliance and Stone
What does this have to do with Hogwarts Legacy? While Rowling has not made any direct involvement in the game, its world is still based entirely on her intellectual property. Even if she did not receive licensing royalties for Legacy, many interested buyers find it difficult to justify giving money, airtime, and support that will go to someone who is actively working to make the world a worse place for trans people.
Anti-Semitic Goblins and anti-Semitic tropes
Some Jewish residents have already found the Harry Potter books a source of worry due to their portrayal and descriptions of the majority of goblin characters. With hooked noses and an obsession with coins that effectively positions them as the de facto banking class in the wizarding world, goblins draw uncomfortably close to anti-Semitic tropes that persist in the real world to this day, Rowling does intend to include a few basic human rights into the Harry Potter books as a precaution.
Hogwarts Legacy, in turn, pushes these associations even further. Instead of taking a more forceful stance against the villain, the writers portray him as greedy and power-hungry, rather than a leader of an oppressed group striving to make everything right for them. In a vacuum, this would certainly not be a bad thing, given the parallels with Jewish history, links to anti-Semitic conspiracies, and the anti-Semitic visual language at play
The main disagreements over Hogwarts Legacy are between Rowling's transphobic remarks and his possible anti-Semitic tropes, but there are a few other, arguably smaller, issues that have fans dissatisfied with the result. Back in 2021, his YouTube channel, which featured plenty of anti-social justice and pro-GamerGate content, was exposed. Many believed that the disclosure of his videos was a catalyst for the film.
When it was revealed that players may freely use Unforgivable Curses in the game, such as the Imperius Curse, the Cruciatus Curse, and the Killing Curse, they could mind-control, torture, or murder their targets. This was not necessarily the issue at hand, however, as much as the fact that the game seems to care whether you use them or not.
The first officially trans character in the Harry Potter universe was included by the game's developers, presumably in an effort to differentiate itself from Rowling. However, fans were divided on the merits of Sirona Ryan, who works at a pub in Hogsmeade.