My Hopes For Hogwarts Legacy
I would like to start this by saying I absolutely do not support J.K. Rowling and her transphobic opinions. I do however love the world and stories she created and fully support Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Avalanche Software taking that world to create something new. While J.K. Rowling may have created the world of Harry Potter, she is not involved with creating this game and therefore, I hope that her ignorant comments do not spoil fans love of this franchise and they support Avalanche in their upcoming project.
The long rumoured ‘Harry Potter RPG’ finally got officially announced at Sony’s PlayStation event in September. Hogwarts Legacy will see players return to the famous wizarding school for a brand-new adventure set in the 1800’s, long before Mr Potter was even born. Players will brew potions, cast spells and develop their skills as a witch or wizard in an action RPG world.
While official information on the game is limited, we do have some details beyond what we saw in the trailer from the FAQ page on Hogwartslegacy.com
Q: What kind of game is Hogwarts Legacy?
A: Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, open-world, action role-playing-game set in the 1800s wizarding world, which puts players at the centre of their own adventure.
Q: When does Hogwarts Legacy release?
A: Hogwarts Legacy will release in 2021.
Q: What platforms will Hogwarts Legacy be on?
A: Hogwarts Legacy will be available for PlayStation5, PlayStation4, PlayStation4 Pro, the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox Series X and Xbox One X, and PC.
Q: How do you play Hogwarts Legacy?
A: Hogwarts Legacy is filled with immersive magic, putting players at the center of their adventure to become the witch or wizard they choose to be. They will grow their character’s abilities as they master powerful spells, hone combat skills and select companions to help them face off against deadly enemies. Players will also encounter missions and scenarios that will pose difficult choices and determine what they stand for.
Q: Can players choose and switch their Hogwarts house in Hogwarts Legacy?
A: Players can choose their Hogwarts house at the start of Hogwarts Legacy. We’ll have more details to share at a later time.
Q: Does the game take place only in Hogwarts Castle?
A: Hogwarts Legacy takes players beyond Hogwarts to new and familiar locations including the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade Village.
With all of that official information, it is now time to speculate and outline my hopes that I feel would help make this the ‘Harry Potter’ game I have longed for. I have broken down these hopes into four categories which I feel could be pillars for this game.
Hogwarts is the perfect setting for a game. It is mysterious and elaborate but also naturally contained to the castle and surrounding grounds. This should allow Avalanche Software to focus in and stay true to the complexity of Hogwarts and its architecture without worrying about building a broad sprawling open world.
While Hogwarts itself has varied slightly in its layout throughout the books and movies, no game for me has managed to represent the castle fully. It is an intricate layout of corridors, classrooms and moving stairs that for anyone unfamiliar with it, would surely seem like a labyrinth at times. I hope Avalanche embraces the vastness of Hogwarts and makes navigating it a skill in itself and somewhere players learn over time almost like a Metroidvania.
Something that could play a large role in exploration is secret passages. These are a key element to Hogwarts throughout the books and films, with the Marauders map acting as Harry’s guide to these hidden pathways. While the Marauders map is likely not created yet in the timeline of Hogwarts Legacy, these passageways will be and we as players could discover them as the game progresses.
Another way to help players navigate Hogwarts is to make areas feel unique and memorable. While the walls and corridors may all have a similar design, the location of classrooms, social areas and portraits will help make each area unique and contribute to the players knowledge of the castle layout.
Hogwarts Legacy may be separate from the films and books narratively, but I hope that Avalanche Software includes ‘easter eggs’ to events in those stories. These wouldn’t have to be major things that feel out of place but rather subtle nods that fans can find should they know where to look. Things such as a snake on the tap in the second-floor bathroom, house elves working in the kitchens and the Room of Requirements appearing at times of need throughout the story. While none of these aspects would be integral, they would add to authenticity of Hogwarts and make fans feel as though they have finally got the chance to explore the school.
Role-Playing Game (RPG) Elements
Avalanche Software haven’t offered many official details on the gameplay yet however one feature that does keep coming up is the fact its an RPG. On the official website they state this will include customising your character, upgrading talents and becoming the wizard you want to be. While this sounds like they will lean into skill tree aspects that let you ‘level up’ your character the way you see fit, I hope they double down on the role-playing concept especially as Hogwarts is a school.
We will of course take part in lessons, we some during the trailer, but I hope these are approached as daily tasks rather than side missions to embrace the school aspect of Hogwarts. I want the games progression to be structured around a timetable and school terms, allowing players to actually live out their Hogwarts experience while still having a narrative adventure woven in. An accelerated in-game clock could also be implemented to keep players on track and moving from lesson to lesson throughout each day with evenings and weekends providing free time to complete side quests. House points could then be used, penalising players for being late to lessons or being caught out of bed at night.
This style of play is of course not for everyone however. Therefore, there should also be the option to pause the in-game clock, allowing players to free roam and complete side missions without having to worry about keeping to their lesson timetable. While I hope Avalanche Software is putting a lot of work into making the lessons fun and engaging, sometimes players just want to focus on progressing the narrative of a game. I would also hope that the ability to auto complete lessons is implemented outside of ones that push the story forward. With these elements included it would allow fans of different play styles to fully appreciate this game while still allowing enough flexibility in the tasks that need to be completed.
Hogwarts Legacy of course will see you explore the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry, it goes without saying then that magic and spells will play a massive part of this game. Beyond being the main form of combat in the game, it will be implemented into exploration and tasks throughout the game world. For me, no Harry Potter game has managed to nail the feeling of spells yet and I hope this is something Hogwarts Legacy manages to achieve. The issues come with the sheer number of spells that have been introduced throughout the books and films. In past games, spells have been very contextual to what is happening in the game and while this is convenient, it feels very limiting at times and would feel even more limiting in Hogwarts Legacy where you are playing as your own custom character.
There have been countless spells introduced and although many of them may not be useful to have in the game, I hope that Avalanche Software includes as many as possible regardless. The issue then comes in how they are implemented via a controller. There is typically around fourteen buttons (depending on your controller) and two sticks found on modern gamepads. This means that even if every button did a different spell, we would be far short of the possible spells that could be included and that’s without taking into account all of the other actions that those buttons will tigger in game.
Therefore, I hope Avalanche offers a two-pronged approach when it comes to spells. When aiming at specific elements in the game or if you are in particular circumstances, the game should offer the appropriate spell to use automatically. For example, if you aim at a locked door then ‘Alohomora’ should automatically be available to use. Beyond these particular circumstances though players should have the choice of using any spell they wish. This could very well be accessed via a ‘weapon wheel’ approach where players can access a wide range of spells and once selected, that spell is continuously accessible through a button press until another is chosen. To add even more freedom, the ‘spell wheel’ could be customised from a larger list of learned spells to allow all players the chance to make their witch/wizard feel unique to their playstyle. This would not only allow freedom in which spells player use but also encourage experimentation throughout the world.
As Hogwarts Legacy is based in a school, players will likely learn more spells as the game progresses. Spells that aren’t tied to story progression could then be locked behind lessons and offered as a reward for completing these for those that want that gameplay depth.
Another way that Avalanche Software could add depth is by offering gameplay elements completely separate to the typical gameplay loop. Quidditch would be the perfect way to achieve this as it offers something beyond casting spells, attending classes and exploring Hogwarts. While we can assume, based on the trailer footage, that flying a broomstick will be part of the game, my hope is that Quidditch is treated as its own mode within Hogwarts Legacy.
With how popular Harry Potter became, it shocks me that there has been only one game based on Quidditch. Especially when you consider how successful sports titles perform year on year. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup released back in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows PC. While limited buy the technology of the time it offered a fantastic representation of Quidditch and one I enjoyed playing many hours of.
Sports games are at their best when they offer the chance to compete with, and against, real players. While Avalanche have stated that Hogwarts Legacy is a single player experience, I am hoping that they offer Quidditch as a multiplayer mode alongside the game.
In my head I am imagining it much like how EA has approached FIFA and some of its multiplayer modes. Players can of course play matches single player where they take control of the whole team, they can also have a similar experience but competitively against another player. They then have a mode called Pro Clubs however. In Pro Clubs, players take control of an individual footballer within the team and control that footballer for the match. They can then team up with friends to each control a different member of your team before competing online against other player-controlled team.
The game of Quidditch having seven players per team each playing one of 4 unique roles, those being Keeper, Chaser, Beater and Seeker. This kind of team set up could provide some incredibly fun multiplayer gameplay if done correctly.
I am likely wishing for too much here. Creating a fleshed out, multiplayer sports title within a deep and detailed RPG would be an incredible tough task to pull off. What I do hope though, is that Avalanche Software manages to create a Quidditch experience that is fun, accessible and detailed enough that we could see Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment develop a dedicated Quidditch game spin off from Hogwarts Legacy that incorporats the same gameplay features but expanded to include added modes and multiplayer.
As you can tell I am extremely excited to see what Avalanche Software has developed. While I may have high expectations for this game based off my love of the franchise, I am going into Hogwarts Legacy open minded and look forward to playing the experience they have crafted for us. Visually this game is ticking every box for me and all the information released so far seems to suggest they know what fans have been looking for. If even some of the features I have outlined end up being included, Hogwarts Legacy could be on track to be one of my favourite games of 2021.