Editor’s Note: This article originally refereed to Troy Leavitt as a Lead Developer. He was a Senior Producer, and we have edited the original article to reflect this fact.
Hogwarts Legacy will reportedly allow players to create transgender characters, after developers pushed managers for the game to be more inclusive.
A Bloomberg report citing “people familiar with the project” claims the developers had been fighting to make the game inclusive, pushing for changes to the character customization, and a transgender character. Management resisted this at first, but the character creation currently allows for several options for transgender players.
This includes customizing the player’s voice (masculine or feminine), body type, and (in Bloomberg’s words) “gender placement.” The latter means players will choose to be a witch or wizard, and placed into the appropriate dorm at Hogwarts.
It should be noted that while the world of Harry Potter allows for spells and potions that can change a person’s body in a variety of ways (even into animals or inanimate objects), the options are likely to maximize however a player identifies, or whatever character they wish to create.
The move may also be a way for both developers and Warner Bros. to reject negative PR somewhat associated with the game and the brand. Both the original author J.K. Rowling and Senior Producer Troy Leavitt have been branded as bigots by some.
For Rowling, this was due to her comments on taking issue with an article that used the term “people who menstruate“ to differentiate between women and male to female transgender women.
“The ‘inclusive’ language that calls female people ‘menstruators’ and ‘people with vulvas’ strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning,” Rowling stated in a post on her website. “I understand why trans activists consider this language to be appropriate and kind, but for those of us who’ve had degrading slurs spat at us by violent men, it’s not neutral, it’s hostile and alienating.”
When Bloomberg reported Avalanche Software was working on the game before it was announced (then only known as a “big budget” open world Harry Potter game); their sources claimed developers felt “uncomfortable and sparked private discussions” when studio management did not address the controversy.
Meanwhile, Leavitt had previously run a YouTube channel that discussed politics and gaming. He had been branded as politically “far right” and a bigot by some journalists and news outlets due to the opinions expressed in these videos.
This included being critical of the mainstream media coverage of GamerGate, “social justice” political beliefs, feminism, the generalization of gamers as toxic, Anita Sarkeesian, the Me Too movements (believing some cases’ validity to be dubious, and calling it a “moral panic”), and left wing political beliefs.
In one video from 2018, Leavitt claimed that his employers WB Games were aware of his channel, and did not object to its content. “Not that they endorse anything that I’ve said of course,” Leavitt explains, “but at least they seem more concerned with making good games than with pushing some kind of a social justice agenda, so there is hope.”
Hogwarts Legacy launches 2022 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.