Warner Bros. Games
- “Hogwarts Legacy” is topping charts on Steam and the PlayStation Store, a month from its release.
- It could be a blockbuster, even after calls to boycott it due to J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans comments.
- Warner Bros. has suggested it wants to cooperate with Rowling on future Potter-related content.
“Hogwarts Legacy,” the upcoming video game set in the world of Harry Potter from Warner Bros. Games, is already showing signs that it could be a hit — even amid controversy over Potter creator J.K. Rowling and some calls to boycott the game.
The game was the top-selling title on game distribution platform Steam on Monday and Tuesday, ahead of other games like “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II” and “Destiny 2” — even though it doesn’t release for another month, on February 10.
It was also the best-selling title in the PlayStation Store’s “coming soon” category as of Tuesday, ahead of other soon-to-be-released games like “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor” and “Dead Space.”
“Hogwarts Legacy” is an open-world role-playing game set in the Harry Potter universe during the 1800s, and the player will play as a student at Hogwarts during that time. It will first be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC next month, and come to old-generation consoles and Nintendo Switch this summer.
Here’s a look at the gameplay:
The early sales data suggests the game could be a blockbuster, even after Rowling has sparked backlash in recent years over anti-trans comments.
The Rowling backlash stretches back to 2020, when Rowling tweeted: “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
Rowling has since doubled down on the stance, prompting some to call for a boycott of “Hogwarts Legacy,” including trans YouTuber Jessie Earl, who goes by Jessie Gender and has nearly 200,000 subscribers.
Rowling responded to Earl’s call for a boycott in December, tweeting in part that Earl “doesn’t realise purethink is incompatible with owning ANYTHING connected with me, in ANY form.”
Warner Bros. Games says on the game’s FAQ page that that Rowling had no direct involvement in the game and that it was “not a new story” from her.
“J.K. Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World,” Warner Bros. Games said at the time.
It added, “we have collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect.”
Warner Bros. Games representatives did not respond to requests for comment from Insider on whether Rowling will be compensated for “Hogwarts Legacy.” But Rowling has far-reaching control over Harry Potter.
Warner Bros. reached a deal with her in 2013, after the original film series had concluded, to release new content based on the Harry Potter universe, including the “Fantastic Beasts” movies.
It’s unclear how any deal has evolved since, but Warner Bros. appears to have been careful not to ruin its relationship with the author even amid the controversy surrounding her transphobic comments.
Warner Bros. did release a statement following her initial comments in 2020, without naming her, saying in part: “We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
But in November, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that the company was “going to have a real focus on franchises,” and expressed an interest in doing “something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward” — suggesting that the company not only needs to cooperate with Rowling on any future content, but that it was willing to do so.