Simon Pegg is the Hogwarts headmaster in Hogwarts Legacy

Audio player loading…

Warner Bros Games has announced that Simon Pegg, he of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Star Trek, and probably a bunch of newer stuff I haven't seen, will portray the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the upcoming open-world wizarding game Hogwa (opens in new tab)rts Legacy.

Pegg will give voice to Phineas Nigellus Black in the game, the great-great-grandfather of Sirius Black, portrayed in the films by Gary Oldman. Unlike that popular character, however, or the wise and compassionate Dumbledore who headed up Hogwarts in the novels and movies, Phineas Nigellus Black is pretty much a complete dick—the students don't like him, and he doesn't like the students.

"Phineas Nigellus Black is the least popular headmaster in the history of Hogwarts," Pegg explains in the new trailer. "He is a sort of pompous, disinterested—he's not a good teacher or headmaster in any way. I think he would've taken the role of headmaster because of the gig. You know, it's a prestigious position.

"I don't think he has any interest in children's education or being, in any way, a role model. It's not really his concern. What he wants in the kudos of being the headmaster of the greatest wizarding school in the world. He's just a bit of an idiot, really."

Warner's own description of Black is equally blunt: "Wildly ill-suited to his job, his goal is to do the least amount of work possible and avoid exposure to the student body, preferring to focus on his status in the wizarding world and his surgically manicured beard."

That’ll be a real shift from the heroic headmaster Harry Potter fans grew accustomed to through most of the novel series, but you need some conflict somewhere to keep things interesting. And who knows? Maybe the head of Slytherin House will be a surprise good guy this time around.

Hogwarts Legacy is set to launch on Steam (opens in new tab) on February 10, and is the subject of significant controversy due to widely-publicized transphobia (opens in new tab) expressed in recent years by Harry Potter author JK Rowling. The situation has grown ugly enough that Warner and developer Avalanche have effectively disavowed her, stating explicitly in an FAQ (opens in new tab) that Rowling "is not involved in the creation of the game." In September 2020, however, Warner declined to comment when asked by Kotaku (opens in new tab) if Rowling will earn royalties on sales of the game.

The result is a deep split between gamers eager to jump into an open-world Harry Potter experience, and those who want to repudiate Rowling’s discrimination—and, more practically, avoid rewarding her financially. As GamesRadar (opens in new tab) noted recently, some Steam users have been applying tags like "transphobic," "transphobia," "capitalism," and "NSFW" to the game page. The tags were quickly removed and the page's owner is presumably staying vigilant to ensure they don't reappear, but there's clearly coordinated pushback against the game. At the same time, Hogwarts Legacy is also currently among the top-selling games on Steam (opens in new tab) on the strength of pre-purchases. 

Warner also revealed the finalized PC system requirements for Hogwarts Legacy today—here's what you'll need to play:

See more

Minimum (720p/30 fps, low settings):

  • OS: Windows 10, 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 (3.3GHz) or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 (3.2GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 4GB or AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB
  • Storage: 85GB HDD
  • OS: Windows 10, 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 (3.2GHz) or AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (3.6GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 1080 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT or Intel Arc A770
  • Storage: 85GB SSD

Ultra (1440p/60 fps, ultra settings):

  • OS: Windows 10, 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K (3.8GHz) or AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (3.8GHz)
  • RAM: 32GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
  • Storage: 85GB SSD

Ultra 4K (2160p/60fps, ultra settings):

  • OS: Windows 10, 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K (3.8GHz) or AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (3.8GHz)
  • RAM: 32GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti or Radeon RX 7900 XT
  • Storage: 85GB SSD
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.