Hogwarts Legacy has come under fire again, following criticism from the Transgender community about their handling of the franchises ties to author J.K Rowling and her hateful comments towards trans people.
It started when the team behind Hogwarts Legacy announced that they would be adding “Trans options” to the game, i.e unbinding the masculine voice options from feminine bodies. However they mentioned that at the end of the day you’re still a “Witch” or a “Wizard”, and would be sorted to your dormitories accordingly.
“A PR Band-Aid”
Look, in any other franchise that would be a “He a little confused but he got the spirit”-type achievement that could be applauded, if not taken with a pinch of salt. The problem is that’s not what the Trans community have been upset at the game about, and acting like it is just further harms the image of the Trans community as being pedants looking to nitpick games into submission.
The real reason the Trans community are upset with Hogwarts Legacy and anything else Harry Potter related is the fact that at no point have any of the studios working with the Harry Potter IP come out to denounce author JK Rowling’s transphobic comments.
Laura Kate Dale, a prominent Trans woman and video game critic took the announcement to task, highlighting why the news wouldn’t change her stance on the game.
“It’s still supporting Rowling’s properties. WB Games still won’t publicly denounce Rowling’s views. WB Games CEO hasn’t changed his “being transphobic is just an opinion, and shouldn’t be criticised” stance. It’s still produced by a known right wing arsehole”, she said in a tweet.
Further down her thread, she even expressed cynicism towards the move, implying its nature as a PR stunt instead.
“And yeah, let’s be frank, this is getting labelled a “transgender option”, when other games with open option character creators don’t label it that way, is as a PR band aid. It’s there to try and deflect anger from the fact they don’t plan to Denounce Rowling’s views”, she says.
However, this wasn’t a condemnation of everyone working on Hogwarts Legacy. Instead, she clarified this is specifically to do with the fact that the people acting as the public faces of the project weren’t doing enough.
“I don’t doubt there are some well meaning pro trans folks at WB working on this game. I have no doubt some of them pushed for this to try to fix the situation. Still, it’s not enough to change the fact that the public faces of the company will not so much as denouce transphobia”, she notes.
J.K Rowling has been called out by the Trans community and decent cisgendered people for her transphobic views, to which she has only doubled down as pressure grew, most notably with an incredibly misleading manifesto implying Trans women were somehow a threat to cisgendered women.
WB Games has tried to distance themselves from Rowling by describing her demonization of a marginalized group as an opinion, never outright denouncing it.