Last Thursday, Portkey Games released the official reveal trailer for “Hogwarts Legacy,” an upcoming single-player, action role-playing game (RPG) set in the wizarding world first introduced in the best-selling “Harry Potter” book series. The game is being developed by Avalanche Software and published by Portkey Games. No official release date has been announced yet, but the game is slated to come out sometime in 2021 and will be available for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
One important detail is that “Hogwarts Legacy” will be a standalone game set in the 1800s Wizarding World. According to the developers, although the game will remain faithful to the established Harry Potter lore, it will follow an entirely original story. You will play as a student who has received late acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Upon arriving at the school, your character realizes that they possess “the ability to perceive and master Ancient Magic.” The player must choose whether they will use their unique abilities for the forces of good or evil.
The playable character’s appearance will be customizable and the player will get to choose which Hogwarts house they want to be sorted into. Although few details have been released, it is known that the game will include a skill system. Players can level up their character by practicing skills such as potion brewing, taming magical creatures and casting various types of spells. The trailer also shows players battling both dark wizards and magical creatures, so we know that combat will be included.
Since it is a standalone story, the developers have confirmed that Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger will all be absent from the game, but some familiar characters will be making appearances. Exactly which characters they’re referring to is still largely open to interpretation, but in a post on the official PlayStation blog, Head of Story Adrian Ropp said, “We embrace what we know and challenge ourselves to expand upon it. Nearly Headless Nick would have been floating around, loyal and cheerful as ever … and an Ollivander has been making wands since 382 B.C. Often, the difficult task is choosing which details we aren’t going to explore.”
The trailer suggests that the entirety of Hogwarts Castle will be available for the player to explore along with several locations previously established in the books and other new ones found only in the game. So far, it has been confirmed that parts of the game will take place within the village of Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest. The game will be “open world” but no information has been released yet that describes the actual size of the map.
It seems like Avalanche is trying their best to capture the full experience of being a Hogwarts student. The fact that they are working hard to make the game fit within the established Harry Potter lore is promising. However, the already existing source material creates a very specific tone in the heads of the fans. Hogwarts Castle is a setting full of spectacle, mystery and danger. This sounds like the perfect setting for an action RPG, but only time will tell if they can pull it off in a way that leaves fans satisfied.