A new year has rolled around and now we're finally getting some significant details about Hogwarts Legacy—the long anticipated Harry Potter RPG from Portkey Games. We first got a look at it back in 2020 with a pretty spectacular trailer, showing students doing their sorcerer's studies at Hogwarts, but also taming magical monsters, and puzzling out dungeons just like in the original Harry Potter games.
But Hogwarts Legacy takes place in 1890, a long time before Harry and most of the book's characters were born. Dumbledore is pretty much the only character who'd be alive at this point, but even then, he'd just be a kid—a student we meet at Hogwarts perhaps? Either way, the change of setting should let you create your own unique student with which to explore the world, and uncover the secrets of ancient magic.
A major gameplay reveal and behind the scenes in March 2022 showed off a lot of extra information about Hogwarts Legacy including character customization, companion characters, and lots and lots of magical combat.
For more details and screens for Hogwarts Legacy, plus what news there is about when it might arrive, take a look below.
When is the Hogwarts Legacy release date?
Hogwarts Legacy is launching in holiday 2022, meaning likely November or December.
It was originally planned for 2021 but it was announced in January of that year that it would be pushed back into the next. "Creating the best possible experience for all of the Wizarding World and gaming fans is paramount to us so we are giving the game the time it needs," Portkey Games said.
Hogwarts Legacy trailers and screenshots
The initial reveal trailer above 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.
Check out these Hogwarts Legacy reveal screenshots
Above are some screenshots from the Hogwarts Legacy reveal trailer to get a look at how Portkey games has designed its 1800s version of Hogwarts.
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've seen 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. From what we've seen so far, some classes will involve interactive minigames.
We've also briefly seen the talent points system where you can invest points into categories like the Room of Requirement, stealth, and your "core" abilities. The other two categories were unnamed, but I'd be that one of them is related to combat.
Is there combat in Hogwarts Legacy?
It sure looks like there's going to be 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. From what we've seen, potions and plants and other stations all appear to take time to produce—though whether that's real world time or only time spent playing isn't clear so far.
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 1890, 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 it looks like we can definitely expect some standard places. Avalanche say that it's an open world game, so there will likely be 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 seems like it's going to be 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.
Familiar faces will likely be few and far between, given the time period, but the gameplay reveal did show a very short clip of a student chatting with Nearly Headless Nick the ghost. Perhaps some other less-corporeal cameos are in order.
Here's what we know about character creation
We've seen just a bit of character customization so far in the gameplay reveal, showing the ability 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."
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."