Get ready y'all, because the wizarding world is about to get a lot more trans-inclusive in the next Harry Potter video game, Hogwarts Legacy. Considering the controversy surrounding author J.K. Rowling's transphobic comments, this feels like a huge step forward for Hogwarts. As a fan of the wizarding world, it's nice to know the next Harry Potter video game will reportedly include trans character options, because honestly, it's about time.
While it's unclear whether or not Hogwarts Legacy will include trans non-playable characters (NPCs), players themselves will reportedly be able to customize their character's voice, appearance, and dormitory placement independently of each other, per Bloomberg, as well as whether their character is designated as a witch or wizard. While non-binary and trans inclusivity in video games is pretty rare, it isn't new — There's Ned Wynert in Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Cremisius Aclassi and Serendipity in Dragon Age: Origins, Lev in The Last of Us Part II, and more. For many people, the issue here isn't with trans inclusivity in the new Harry Potter video game — it's with original author of the beloved book series, J.K. Rowling.
Over the past few years, Rowling has made several deeply troubling comments regarding the trans community, including publicly defending Maya Forstater, a British tax specialist who lost her job over offensive anti-trans comments. In June 2020, Rowling doubled down on her rhetoric, publishing a nearly 4,000-word blog post titled "TERF wars." TERF is an acronym for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist," which some critics called the author in response to her inflammatory comments.
In the blog post, Rowling echoed previous rhetoric about trans people and single-sex bathrooms . "I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe," she wrote. "When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman — and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones — then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside."
When it comes to the new Harry Potter video game, some Twitter users point out that while it's nice to bring trans inclusivity to the wizarding world, J.K. Rowling still presumably benefits financially from adaptions of her work. A FAQ page for the game from publisher Warner Bros. Games notes that Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game and did not write the story, "[h]owever, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World."
Hogwarts Legacy is currently scheduled for a 2022 release date.