Controversy creates cash — including manufactured controversy. Hogwarts Legacy, the prequel fantasy game spun out of the Harry Potter books and films, gets a cold reception from a segment of critics who now despise creator J.K. Rowling but it’s doing well sales-wise with gamers; regardless of the platform. Some of them became HP fans overnight, eager to catch up on their reading and movie viewing.
Warner Bros. must be paying attention and seeing an opportunity as the “trusted and reliable sources” of Giant Freakin Robot — a source for all kinds of exclusives — say a Hogwarts Legacy-based series is in development at HBO Max and very early development at that. ”The series is still in the early phases of development, so few details are available,” they say.
It’s presumed, though, that the series will be like the game and take place in the 1800s before either the adventures of Harry or Newt Scamander of the Fantastic Beasts series. In the hot-selling open-world release, players control a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who has an exceptional, however untapped, mastery of ancient magic.
Released for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on February 10th, it sold a very strong 12 million units to rake in an impressive $850M globally in just two weeks. That is WB Game’s biggest launch ever and the releases for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch are still on the horizon. DLC expansions, however, are not.
Players with the systems mentioned have the freedom to pick a house other than Gryffindor – Potter and friends’ alma mater – and can also explore Hogwarts to a greater degree as well as Hogsmeade. Legacy comes with its perks but is also under fire for a few reasons. Critics lodge the game is antisemitic because of its Goblin tribe of rebellious bankers.
“As The Gamer explains, to some critics, putting them in a position in which they are an oppressed race being further persecuted by the game hero was one dark bridge too far,” GFR notes. Aside from that, JK Rowling’s comments about gender that are viewed as transphobic continue to haunt her in the mainstream which keeps her in pariah status.
Add to that the decline and failure of Fantastic Beasts as a franchise, owing to the legal drama Johnny Depp was swept up in and that resulted in his firing, and you have awkward circumstances for Hogwarts Legacy to release under and find success. There is a Pyrrhic boycott of the game by those who disagree with Rowling and perhaps don’t empathize with Depp.
It hasn’t hurt the game and may have had the opposite effect. This apparently rings as good news for the tepid WB who have been sending mixed signals pertaining to the Wizarding World. They want to distance themselves and Ezra Miller from Fantastic Beasts but believe in the larger IP enough to promise more content whether something is in the works or not.