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Hogwarts Legacy

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Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world video game based on the Harry Potter franchise released on February 10th, 2023. The game was announced in 2020. In the years prior to its release, the game sparked several controversies, including criticism aimed at its ex-lead designer Troy Leavitt over his purported support of GamerGate and for setting the game during a goblin rebellion, as many see the goblins in Harry Potter as being offensive representations of Jewish people. Some people also boycotted the game, not wanting to support J.K. Rowling's TERF comments. Hogwarts Legacy was released on February 10th, 2023, and saw a notable online presence in memes, viral debates and other discourse surrounding it.


The reveal trailer for Hogwarts Legacy was released on YouTube on September 16th, 2020, gaining over 30 million views on the PlayStation YouTube channel in two years (shown below).

On March 17th, 2022, a gameplay trailer for Hogwarts Legacy was uploaded to the Warner Bros. Games YouTube channel, garnering over 1.3 million views in five months (shown below).


On February 6th, 2023 (five days ahead of the game's release), an initial slew of reviews was released on various gaming outlets, giving the game a critical score of 85/100 on Metacritic[13] based on 45 critic reviews. Positive reviews praised the game's open and immersive world, saying Potter fans will enjoy getting wrapped in the wizarding world of Hogwarts Legacy. GameRant[14] wrote, "It succeeds at being the dream Harry Potter game that many fans were hoping for, and if nothing else, it creates a rock-solid foundation for future Wizarding World games to be built upon." In a more negative piece, The Guardian[15] wrote that the game wasn't much better than "countless open-world games" after 15 hours of gameplay, and expressed a negative opinion of the battle mechanics and controls.

The first batch of reviews reignited arguments for boycotting the game, and discussion around the websites covering it. Twitter user @Patrickklepek[16] tweeted that websites that might agree with ignoring the game may be forced to cover it since the game will likely be popular, gaining over 700 retweets and 4,500 quote-tweets (shown below, left). User @SamGreszes[17] joked that if people want to play the game, they "should at least be ashamed enough by that choice that you don't post about it on social media," gaining over 50 retweets and 770 likes (shown below, right).

Patrick Klepek @patrickklepek Watching gaming outlets jump through rhetorical hoops to justify coverage on Hogwarts Legacy isn't surprising, but it'd be more honest if they played it straight and just said "our shaky business model does not allow us to ignore any game that might sell 10 million copies." 9:14 AM Feb 6, 2023 336.7K Views ... Sam Greszes @SamGreszes If you're going to buy and play hogwarts legacy you should at least be ashamed enough by that choice that you don't post about it on social media 10:12 PM. Feb 5, 2023 75.3K Views ...


Troy Leavitt Controversy

On February 19th, 2021, Twitter[1] user @Doctor_Cupcakes, a Did You Know Gaming? contributor, shared a screenshot of the creative director of Hogwarts Legacy Troy Leavitt's YouTube channel, writing, "I know this is just shocking but the lead designer of Hogwarts Legacy is Troy Leavitt, a far right YouTuber who used to make anti-fem and pro GG vids," garnering over 6,000 likes and 2,500 retweets in a year. Kotaku[2] reported on the controversy on the 21st, mentioning how Leavitt has videos defending John Lasseter (Pixar co-founder who left in 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct) and GamerGate. On March 4th, Leavitt posted a Tweet[3] announcing he would be leaving Avalanche Games. He posted a video to his YouTube[4] channel discussing why he left on March 12th, garnering over 25,000 views in a year (shown below).

Goblin Rebellion Criticism

One of the villains of the game is a Dark Wizard-allied goblin named Ranrok, who leads a goblin rebellion against the wizards during the events of the game. In March 2022, people began criticizing the developers for portraying the goblins, who have been criticized in the past for stereotypically resembling Jewish people,[5] as villains for rebelling against their oppressors. That month, publications including The Gamer,[6] Daily Dot,[7] Game Rant[8] and Vice[9] reported on the controversy. On June 7th, YouTuber Harry Potter Theory posted a video describing the lore around goblin rebellions, garnering over 90,000 views in two months (shown below).

Boycott Attempts

On top of the goblin rebellion and Troy Leavitt controversies, some people decided to boycott the game because of J.K. Rowling's anti-trans sentiments. On August 26th, 2022, Twitter[10] user @Inez666_ tweeted, "Friendly reminder!! Don’t buy this game!! The people who worked on it have already been paid, this doesn’t need your support. Trans people are more important than a wizard school you can’t let go of. Don’t stab us in the back thanks ❤️," garnering over 83,000 likes and 23,000 retweets in two days. On August 27th, Twitter[11] user @VoicesByZane made a similar tweet, garnering over 10,000 likes in a day.

Some users mocked the tweets. On August 27th, Twitter[12] user @SophiaNarwitz posted a meme about buying 100 copies of the game, garnering over 4,900 likes in two days (shown below).

Sophia Narwitz @SophiaNarwitz "People will literally die if you buy the new Harry Potter game." "I'll take 100 copies of Hogwarts Legacy please." SISTE ⠀ 11:53 AM - Aug 27, 2022- Twitter for iPhone

Spoiler Campaign

In the week before release, Hogwarts Legacy boycotters began posting warning-free spoilers for the game's ending on social media, dividing users on whether it was a fair form of protest.

Hogwarts Legacy Trans Character / Sirona Ryan

On February 6th, 2023, multiple news outlets reported that Hogwarts Legacy would feature a trans character named Sirona Ryan, a barkeep and owner of the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.[18] Twitter account @ThePopTingz[19] tweeted about the character, gaining over 20 retweets and 250 likes in hours (shown below).

Many on Twitter joked about the name, quipping that it was in line with J.K. Rowling's method for naming non-cis, non-white characters. User @Juniper[20] joked, "i think the trans community can accept the first trans character in harry potter being named Sirona Ryan if they introduce the first TERF character and name her Dee Vorced," gaining over 250 retweets and 4,500 likes in one hour (shown below, left). User @SpillerofTea[21] joked that JK Rowling probably would have named the character "Amanda Stillaman," gaining over 70 retweets and 280 likes (shown below, right).

PROVE pudding person @JUNIPER i think the trans community can accept the first trans character in harry potter being named Sirona Ryan if they introduce the first TERF character and name her Dee Vorced 12:35 PM. Feb 6, 2023 166.3K Views Fancy Brenda @SpillerOfTea (they/them) Sirona Ryan was the compromise after JK spent 17 uninterrupted hours arguing for 'Amanda Stillaman' G GameRevolution.com @Game Revolution - 7h Hogwarts Legacy introduces Sirona Ryan, the Harry Potter series' first trans character. #HogwartsLegacy #Harry Potter gamerevolution.com/news/934065-ho... 12:33 PM. Feb 6, 2023 7,233 Views

Streamer Harassment

With the game's early release on February 7th, 2023, many streamers began showing gameplay on Twitch, resulting in some receiving targeted harassment in the form of existing or newly made accounts that spammed chats by calling streamers "transphobic" and "bigoted" for supporting J.K. Rowling, as well as being inundated with criticism for merely playing Hogwarts Legacy. On February 6th, Twitter user and web designer @iamsamgibbs[22] unveiled a website (havetheystreamedthatwizardgame.com) a day before the early launch that was designed to show what streamers were actively playing the game (shown below).

Sam Gibbs @iamsamgibbs Introducing havetheystreamedthatwizardgame.com - find out if anyone you follow on twitch has streamed THAT new wizard game Streamer ALT have they streamed THAT wizard game? OR Login with Twitch to check if anyone you follow has played THAT wizard game Login with Twitch → 7:20 AM - Feb 6, 2023 - 7.4M Views ⠀ Search →

One such example of harassment in livestream chats occurred late on February 6th, with the YouTuber turned Twitch streamer couple Girlfriend Reviews (Shelby and Matt).[24] During their stream, Shelby was reportedly brought to tears due to harassment from chat while playing the game.[23] This notably led to a lot of backlash against those boycotting the game by harassing others, as well as causing bigger streamers, such as xQc to come to her support (shown below).

Professor Garlick

Professor Maribel Garlick is the herbology professor in Hogwarts Legacy, a 2023 video game based on the Harry Potter series. Following the game's release in February 2023, people began posting fan art, including rule 34 artwork and memes about Garlick, often expressing attraction for her.

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