Hogwarts Legacy Timeline Explained: When Does the Game Take Place?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is tied directly to its main character, and even when it focuses on other characters, they are still inexorably linked to Harry Potter. Does the same apply to Hogwarts Legacy?

Hogwarts Legacy
Photo: Warner Bros.

Hogwarts Legacy is based on the Wizarding World universe created by J.K. Rowling. You can read more about Rowling’s history of transphobic remarks as well as find resources to support LGBTQ organizations here.

Hogwarts Legacy is every die-hard Harry Potter fan’s dream come true. The game allows players to create their own Hogwarts students, wander around the school and its surrounding areas, learn magic spells, and embark upon various adventures. Unlike previous Harry Potter titles, this game also doesn’t hide progress behind a paywall and the image of a plant strangling a child. Just don’t go into Hogwarts Legacy expecting to encounter anyone you recognize. Well, unless you are a huge Harry Potter lore hound, that is.

Hogwarts Legacy takes place during the 1800s, specifically the 1890s (via a PlayStation State of Play video). This time period was probably chosen so players could see a Goblin Rebellion firsthand. While not crucial to the story, these events were occasionally brought up during the odd chapter that mentioned the History of Magic class. Readers might remember a few infamous rebellion leaders such as Urg the Unclean. While Urg is mentioned in Hogwarts Legacy, players instead have to contend with a new goblin dissident, Ranrok.

Since Hogwarts Legacy takes place a good hundred years or so before the birth of Harry Potter, almost nobody from the books or movies makes an appearance (the ghosts Nearly Headless Nick and Professor Binns serve as two notable exceptions). While the Sorting Hat is technically just an enchanted piece of clothing and not a “character,” it also shows up in Hogwarts Legacy (albeit with 100 fewer years of wear and tear).

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But just because most of the game’s cast have never starred, let alone cameoed, in a piece of Harry Potter media before doesn’t mean you haven’t heard of them. For instance, the headmaster of Hogwarts is none other than Phineas Nigellus Black: the great-great-grandfather of Sirius “Padfoot” Black. The school’s deputy headmaster, Professor Matilda Weasley, will also be vaguely familiar to fans. Granted, nobody in the Harry Potter books and movies ever mentioned her by name, but you don’t have to search too hard to realize who she is related to. 

Moreover, since Hogwarts Legacy takes place in the past, Harry Potter fans will no doubt enjoy walking through the game’s world and recognizing iconic locations from the books and films. You’ve obviously got Hogwarts itself, the common area for each house, and the Room of Requirement, but Hogwarts Legacy also includes the wand shop Ollivanders, Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, and more. Depending on your platform of choice, you might even get to see these locations rendered through the magic of DLSS and ray tracing.

Finally, there has been no confirmation regarding Hogwarts Legacy‘s place in the Harry Potter canon at this time. While it’s doubtful that the events of the game will ever be treated as strictly canonical (especially since a player-created character is the protagonist), the game is clearly based on established Wizarding World lore. To that end, the game clearly aims to be as lore-friendly as possible, though certain concessions obviously had to be made along the way.

If Hogwarts Legacy proves successful, Avalanche Software might produce some DLC for the game. If so, we could see its world expand with more locations ripped straight from the source material (in addition to original creations). Or maybe the studio will create a side story that takes place before or after the events of Hogwarts Legacy. We’ll have to wait and see.