We’ve heard rumors of a major new Harry Potter game in development for quite some time now, but the recent PlayStation showcase finally brought us an official trailer for Hogwarts Legacy.
Much of what we previously suspected/heard about this project remains true of the final version. It is indeed a Harry Potter RPG that allows you to roam an open-world version of Hogwarts as a custom created character. That also means that you’ll be able to attend classes, interact with classmates, and generally do all of the things that we associate with the school of magic.
What we didn’t know is that Hogwarts Legacy will not take place anywhere near the timeline of the books. In fact, it takes us all the way back to the late 1800s.
“We are always asking ourselves how we can draw from the rich library of characters, creatures, and themes – and imagine how those details would influence the school more than a century before Harry Potter’s arrival,” says Adrian Ropp, head of story at developer Avalanche, via the PlayStation blog. “Who was the headmaster? What challenges did students face? What influenced their society before Tom Riddle, before Newt Scamander? I like to say that what we are giving fans is something familiar in a way they have never seen.”
It’s important to note, though, that many of the most recognizable Harry Potter elements were still around in the 1800s. Wizards weren’t that big on modern technology even in the modern age, and iconic locations such as Hogsmeade were up and running during that era and look about how you would expect them to look based on how they were described in the books.
Indeed, it really seems like the biggest advantage offered by the trip back in time is that developers Avalanche and Portkey Games aren’t obligated to include certain iconic characters and plotlines. We already catch a glimpse of the game’s new villains, professors, and side characters in this trailer, but it will be interesting to see the other ways that the team expand on this universe:
The controversial statements made by author J.K. Rowling in recent months have thrown some cold water on many people’s collective enthusiasm for this franchise, but Hogwarts Legacy still promises to offer a definitive Harry Potter gaming experience that may just be able to separate itself from the baggage (narrative and otherwise) of the main series.
We’ll hopefully learn more about this game as it nears a 2021 release date for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.