As expected, ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ has already been labeled as transphobic because of J.K. Rowling’s views

Hogwarts Legacy box art
Image via Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment/Portkey Games/Avalance Software

We have some sympathy for the developers over at Avalanche Studios. In the mid-2010s it scored the license for Harry Potter, one of the hottest properties in entertainment history, and set out to create the dream game for fans. Hogwarts Legacy gives players their very own invitation to the magical school and an opportunity to chart their own course through the Wizarding World.

Unfortunately, the reputation of Harry Potter and its creator J.K. Rowling aren’t what they were when development began. Rowling is now notorious for making herself an enemy of the trans community, the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise is in tatters, and there’s a very public boycott underway against Hogwarts Legacy as – quite understandably – buying it puts money in the pocket of a woman with deeply questionable views.

A taste of what’s coming when the game finally releases can already be seen on the game’s Steam Store page, with it having been tagged with “transphobia” and “transphobic” labels:

It’s worth pointing out that users can add these tags themselves, so this isn’t Steam or Valve’s verdict. In any event, the tags have now been removed by the store, though it seems inevitable that Hogwarts Legacy‘s release is going to stir up an inordinate amount of drama.

Many gamers who consider themselves allies to the trans community are weighing up whether it’s right to pick up the game. Some are putting their money where their mouth is and playing something else in February, regardless of how good Hogwarts Legacy is reviewed. Some are vowing to pirate the game so as to deprive Rowling of any income from it. Others believe they’ve threaded the moral needle and say they just want to support hard-working developers.

All of which means Hogwarts Legacy will be an interesting litmus test of who actually supports trans people and who’s just doing it to score points. The proof, as always, will be in the pudding.