The world of school-aged wizards now has its largest videogame adaptation in quite a while. Portkey Games has taken players back to the late 19th century before Harry and most of the book's characters were born aside from, perhaps, a rather young Dumbledore.
Hogwarts Legacy spells: Every spell you can learn
Hogwarts Legacy Merlin trials: How to solve the trials
Hogwarts Legacy Room of Requirement: How to get in
Hogwarts Legacy Demiguise statues: Unlocking Alohomora
Hogwarts Legacy eye chests: How to crack them open
Hogwarts Legacy broom: How to take flight
With a buffer of a century and a half to work with, Hogwarts Legacy has the creative freedom to tell a wizarding story with new characters, save some ghostly cameos and such, all surrounding your own wizard student.
Notably, Hogwarts Legacy has landed at a fraught time for the wizarding universe. Book series author J.K. Rowling has double, triple, and quadrupled down on her public transphobia, while a middling response to the latest Fantastic Beasts film seemingly has Warner Bros. shying away from continuing the series. Current and former fans have made whether or not its okay to play Hogwarts Legacy a part of the ongoing conversation about Rowling's conservative views and the roots they've left in the series as a whole, both Hogwarts Legacy and elsewhere.
Now that it's officially launched, everything about Hogwarts Legacy is yours to discover too. You can find our Hogwarts Legacy review for our thoughts on the game as a whole, our eight Hogwarts Legacy tips we wish we had before playing, and our estimate on how long Hogwarts Legacy is before you dive in.
Here's everything we know about Hogwarts Legacy.
Hogwarts Legacy release date
When is the Hogwarts Legacy release date?
Hogwarts Legacy released on February 10, 2023. Despite the conventional wisdom about wizards arriving precisely when they mean to, Hogwarts Legacy underwent two delays—the first pushed its intended release out of 2021 and into 2022, and the most recent knocked its holiday 2022 release window into the first quarter of 2023.
"The team is excited for you to play, but we need a little more time to deliver the best possible game experience," Portkey Games said on the Hogwarts Legacy Twitter while announcing the latest delay.
Hogwarts Legacy trailers and screenshots
This hefty gameplay overview from November 2022 is a broad-scope showcase of what Hogwarts Legacy has to offer. The fifty-ish minutes of footage kick off with a look at the character creation options, before moving into a brief tour of Hogwarts's premises as they looked in the 1800s.
Finally, we're offered a taste of Hogwarts Legacy combat. Evidently, spellcasting students in the 19th century measured their wizard battles with damage numbers and combo meters.
Check out the other Hogwarts Legacy trailers
The initial reveal trailer for Hogwarts Legacy gave us just a brief look at what the big wizarding RPG would involve, but it definitely made clear what a pretty game it's going to be. From the initial trailer we saw just a bit of combat and lore, though we now know a lot more about both.
The Hogwarts Legacy official gameplay overview from March in 2022 gave us our first proper look at gameplay and mechanics, from combat spellcasting to broom-mounted traversal. Also: centaurs.
At Opening Night Live in 2022, Hogwarts Legacy showed off a new story trailer that took a look at the darker side of the magic arts. Here, Slytherin student Sebastian Sallow teaches the rest of the characters about curses for self defense and the conflict it starts with Hogwarts professors.
Hogwarts Legacy gameplay & combat
What do we know about the Hogwarts Legacy gameplay?
When it was first revealed, Portkey Games called Hogwarts Legacy an "immersive, open-world action RPG." The studio also explains that, "[Players] 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," Portkey Games says. "Players will also encounter missions and scenarios that will pose difficult choices and determine what they stand for."
From the lengthy gameplay reveal in March 2022, we saw a lot more of what that actually means.
Portkey Games has shown off how you'll explore Hogwarts castle itself, solving puzzles with your spells and abilities to unlock secret rooms and dungeons. You'll also be able to fly around on your broom.
As a student, you'll also be attending classes like Herbology, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, or Potions. We also briefly saw the talent points system where you can invest points into categories like the Room of Requirement, stealth, and your "core" abilities.
Is there combat in Hogwarts Legacy?
There a lot of combat in Hogwarts Legacy. You may be just a student, but you'll be battling magical creatures, dueling your classmates, and fighting against ne'er-do-well adult wizards too.
You'll learn all sorts of spells for combat and the gameplay reveal showed off quite a lot of them. Some spells can stun enemies, pull them towards you, or toss them in the air. Elemental spells can summon fire for an area of effect. It all appears pretty action-y, spells and effects flying as you face several enemies at once armed mostly with your wand.
You will have other tools too, including special plants and animals. Portkey has shown off how plants like screaming Mandrakes can be used offensively to stun enemies while other small plants can keep an enemy's attention while you attack.
There's also a stealth system, which we've seen used to sneak up on unsuspecting enemy wizards.
What's the Room of Requirement for?
The Room of Requirement is a special room in Hogwarts castle that only appears to someone in great need of it. As a fifth year transfer student, apparently you qualify. The Room of Requirement appears to function as a sort of customizable base and crafting hub for your student.
You'll be able to unlock crafting stations for plants and potions or raise animals as friends there. Potions and plants and other stations all appear to take time to produce.
Hogwarts Legacy story and setting
What is the Hogwarts Legacy story?
Avalanche Software and Portkey Games say that Hogwarts Legacy follows the wizarding world lore set out in the original Harry Potter novels but is an original story from the studio, not written by J.K. Rowling.
You'll play as a student attending Hogwarts in the late 1890s, attending classes and learning magic alongside other students. "You have received a late acceptance to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and soon discover that you are no ordinary student: you possess an unusual ability to perceive and master Ancient Magic," the studio says. "Only you can decide if you will protect this secret for the good of all, or yield to the temptation of more sinister magic."
You'll meet the mysterious Professor Fig to figure out answers to your special abilities. There's also the matter of a some kind of rebellion led by a goblin named Ranrock. You'll be fighting Ranrock's goblins, dark witches and wizards, and magical beasts too.
Which locations are in Hogwarts Legacy?
There may not be familiar faces in Hogwarts Legacy due to the time period it's set in, but you can definitely expect some standard places. It's a rather large open world game, so there's plenty of exploring to do in and out of the castle. Throughout your school year, seasons will come and go as you explore areas outside the castle as well.
It should come as no surprise that we'll be spending a lot of time in Hogwarts Castle itself as students. In the reveal trailer we got a good look at the expansive great hall and a look at the exterior we know so well too.
The nearby village of Hogsmeade is also prominent. Parts of the story will take place there, as will buying potion ingredients and outfits for your character.
Also from the reveal trailer we can spot a venture into the Forbidden Forest where a student is fighting against those unknown dark wizards.
Hogwarts Legacy characters and companions
Is Harry Potter in Hogwarts Legacy?
Nope! Remember, this is set in the 1800s so the kid who lived is several generations from being born. Harry Potter won't be in Hogwarts Legacy but since you can create your own character you could probably design a wizard student who looks like him if you really want to.
Here's what we know about character creation
Hogwarts Legacy's character creation is relatively deep, giving you options to change characteristics like hairstyles and color, skin color, and scars. After choosing your appearance, you'll also be able to select the Hogwarts house your student is sorted into.
Past that, Portkey Games also goes over mid-game customization through outfit choices you can buy and equip from visiting shops in Hogsmeade.
According to a Bloomberg report in 2021, Hogwarts Legacy will let you choose a masculine or feminine voice, body type, and dorm placement as "witch" or "wizard" independently when creating a student.
"Some members of the Hogwarts Legacy development team have fought to make the game as inclusive as possible, pushing for the character customization and even for a transgender character to be added," Bloomberg says. "There was resistance from management at first, the people familiar with the project said, but currently the character customization is included in the game."
Who are your companions?
Portkey Games has explained that certain students in the story have their own personal stories that you can be involved with and that they'll eventually be able to accompany you around the world and in combat. Here's who we know about so far:
Natsai Onai: a Gryffindor and "a brave adventurer driven by the justice she seeks."
Poppy Sweeting: a Hufflepuff who has "a kind heart and loves magical beasts."
Sebastian Sallow: a Slytherin "unafraid of detention or breaking the rules."
Amit Thakkar: a Ravenclaw who's a "bright and well-read" aspiring wizard historian.
Hogwarts Legacy's development and influences
There's reason to be skeptical of Hogwarts Legacy's attempts at inclusive representation
Hogwarts Legacy is going back in wizarding world history, but the game is coming with a fair bit of real world history that's worth knowing about.
In recent years, J.K. Rowling has made a series of transphobic remarks that have upset many longtime Harry Potter fans, making her connection to Hogwarts Legacy a significant question. The story of Hogwarts Legacy is a Portkey Games creation, and on an FAQ on its website WB Games says "J.K. Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World."
When Kotaku asked Warner Bros. whether Rowling would receive royalties from sales of Hogwarts Legacy, a representative declined to comment.
Some fans also raised concerns over videos created by Hogwarts Legacy lead designer Troy Leavitt, who formerly ran an anti-social justice YouTube channel. Leavitt's videos included his opinions supportive of Gamergate and references to the #MeToo movement as a "moral panic."
"I’m happy to say that, even though I disclosed my YouTube channel to WB Games, it didn’t appear to be an issue for them," Leavitt said in a video from 2018. "Not that they endorse anything that I’ve said, of course, but at least they seem more concerned with making good games than with pushing some kind of a social justice agenda, so there is hope."
On March 4, two weeks after the videos recirculated online, Leavitt tweeted "I have made the decision to part ways with Avalanche Software. I have nothing but good things to say about the game, the dev team, and WB Games."