Why are people boycotting the new Harry Potter video game?

Based on Rowling's best selling series, the game is set at Hogwarts in the 1800s.

Hogwarts Legacy: Why are people boycotting the new Harry Potter video game? Website/Getty Images

Expected to be one of the biggest releases of 2023, many Harry Potter fans have been eagerly awaiting the new Hogwarts Legacy game.

However, some have called for a boycott – after author JK Rowling’s stances on transgender rights became a subject of mass debate.

Critics have accused the writer of being transphobic, an allegation which she strongly denies – while also continuing to be vocal on her views on transgender people and biological sex.

Based on Rowling’s best selling magical book series, the latest game promises an immersive, open-world action role-playing experience set at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 1800s.

The playable and customisable main character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart.

Due to be released on February 10, Warner Bros. have made attempts to distance the game from Rowling’s stance on transgender rights.

It has stated that, while she is the author and creator of the magical world, she “is not involved in the creation of the game”.

A statement reads: “JK Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game, but as creator of the wizarding world and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the wizarding world.

“This is not a new story from JK Rowling, however 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.”

Players can also customize their characters to identify as transgender.

Additionally, a non-playable character named Sirona Ryan, who owns the Three Broomsticks pub, appears to be a transgender witch – according to reviewers with early access.

The character tells players that during her time at Hogwarts, classmates took time to realise she “was actually a witch, not a wizard”.

The inclusion of Ryan’s character is the first instance of a transgender character appearing in the expansive Harry Potter universe, which has been plagued by controversy due to Rowling’s views.

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” she wrote in a 2020 essay.

“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.”

The writer has also been vocal against the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which was passed by MSPs and subsequently blocked by the UK Government in recent weeks.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code