“Hogwarts Legacy” Breaks Sales Records, Introduces Trans Character, and More
After years in the making, exciting previews, and many delays, Hogwarts Legacy has finally made its way to gaming consoles. It seems as though, despite a few road bumps and some controversy, this open-world-style game has exceeded expectations.
A week and a half after the initial release, Hogwarts Legacy has surpassed all previous Harry Potter game sales. In 2001, the first-ever Harry Potter game was released to coincide with the first movie’s release. According to GamesIndustry.biz, the game’s physical sales numbers in the United Kingdom are 64% higher than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone‘s the first week after release. GamesIndustry.biz also reports that digital download figures are still rolling in but are expected to produce even higher sales as data becomes available.
Hogwarts Legacy topped game charts quickly, surpassing other big-name games in the industry. By February 11, God of War Ragnarok sat at No. 2 on the charts, followed by FIFA 23, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Compared to Elden Ring‘s opening week, one of last year’s biggest fantasy games, Hogwarts Legacy sales were up 80%.
CNN Business has praised Hogwarts Legacy for breathing new life into the Harry Potter universe. Despite wild appreciation and love for the movie franchise, the earliest games were not always slam dunks. Perhaps due to the gaming technology of the time and because fans were far more focused on franchise films and books, the games often faltered. Nonetheless, Hogwarts Legacy claimed the No. 1 spot for Steam presales the week before its official release. Currently, it holds the No. 3 spot for top global sellers on Steam.
As players venture through the Hogwarts grounds and the surrounding areas, it becomes apparent why the game has done so well from a visual point of view. An early-access live stream from the official YouTube page of Hogwarts Legacy provides more inside looks at Hogsmeade, along with a few NPC shop owners and even a run-in with a particularly nasty troll.
As players wander Hogsmeade, they interact with the first transgender character in a Harry Potter game. Sirona Ryan, an NPC and proprietor of the Three Broomsticks, is a friendly face for players seeking a nice cup of butterbeer. Her dialogue includes a moment where she says, “I was actually a witch, not a wizard.” The voice for Sirona comes from the renowned transgender actress Rebecca Root (The Danish Girl, Last Christmas).
Despite Hogwarts Legacy holding its own during the first week and a half of its release, it hasn’t been without some controversy. The author of the Harry Potter books had no creative involvement in the game, yet as CNN Business reports, she will gain licensing royalties. Some people, like transgender gaming commentator Jessie Earl, are drawing a line in the sand and have decidedly come out against purchasing the game, calling it “harmful.” An Avalanche Software representative told IGN, “The team felt that it was very important to create a game that is representative of the rich and diverse world of Harry Potter as well as the groups of people who play games, which includes the LGBTQIA+ community.”
In a separate interview with IGN, Hogwarts Legacy game director Alan Tew commented on some of the challenges faced while creating the game.
I think for us, there are challenges in every game we’ve worked on. This game has been no different. When we bumped into those challenges, we went back and refocused on the stuff that we really care about. We know our fans fell in love with the Wizarding World, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons. We know that’s a diverse audience. For us, it’s making sure that the audience, who always dreamed of having this game, had the opportunity to feel welcomed back, that they have a home here and that it’s a good place to tell their story.
Have you played Hogwarts Legacy yet? Let us know what you think of the game so far.