Hogwarts: Legacy is set to land on consoles on February 10 and anticipation for this video game is already sky-high. Boasting a talented voice cast, frankly astonishing visuals, and an intricate plot, it’s tipped to be one of the biggest game releases of 2023 and for good reason.
If, like me, you can’t wait to dive in, here’s everything you need to know – and why you should be excited about it.
What’s the plot of Hogwarts: Legacy?
Forget thoughts of hanging out with Harry Potter. Hogwarts: Legacy is set in the past – the 1890s, to be precise – in a version of Hogwarts before either Dumbledore or Voldemort.
However, evil is still very much present in the Wizarding World, and the player may even have a hand in helping to shape how much it flourishes.
You’ll be assuming the role of a newcomer to Hogwarts school in their fifth year, who has a mysterious ability to control arcane magic, and holds the key to an “ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart”. This magic is making a mysterious resurgence and nobody knows why – except, perhaps, for you.
Oh, and as it’s set during the time of the Goblin Rebellion, expect that to feature, too. Between battling its leader Ranrok and facing down Dark Wizard Victor Rookwood, there’s a lot on your plate – and that’s before factoring in your lessons and making friends.
What’s the gameplay like for Legacy?
For obvious reasons, not too much has been released about the gameplay for Hogwarts: Legacy quite yet. However, what we do know is that the player will have an in-game manual (billed as a “wizard’s field guide”) for adjusting to life at Hogwarts that will reward people with XP for exploring locations around the castle.
As such, you will level up over the course of the game, which in turn will allow you to learn new abilities. You’ll also get tasks to complete – billed as Combat, Quests, and Exploration, along with tasks from the field guide that will help level you up, and you’ll be able to fly a broomstick and brew potions, too.
The Room of Requirement will also play an important role in the game – though quite how important is unclear – and you’ll be able to customise that, too, as you progress. And will there be spells? You bet. Alongside learning how to cast new spells (you unlock more as you level up), you can brew potions and buy and craft items that will help you in duels with the aim of creating your own style of combat: handy for fighting opponents in the Dark Arts Battle Arena.
Explore a sprawling world and tame some beasts
The game’s developers have promised that players will have a sprawling open world at their fingertips – and, from what we’ve seen, Hogwarts especially looks gorgeous, with a castle and weather that changes to match the seasons. People will also be able to explore Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, and Diagon Alley – as well as areas like the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw common rooms, as sections of the Scottish Highlands, where Hogwarts is located.
This isn’t limited to inanimate objects, either: those with a nous for Hogwarts’ animal life will be able to tame and look after Hippogriffs and thestrals, and interact with more creatures like acromantulas, dragons, and nifflers, with some creatures able to lend you a hand in battles (if you ask nicely).
Choose your fate - will you go over to the dark side?
One of the most exciting things about Hogwarts: Legacy is just how much players can decide their own fate. Forget Skyrim – at the start of this game, you can decide your avatar’s gender, appearance, voice, and body-type, before choosing which House you’re sorted into.
This goes even further when it comes to how the plot unfolds. Players will be able to choose if they stick to the path of the good, or ultimately embrace their worst side and become a Dark Wizard. This will impact the storylines you can interact with, the way characters interact with you (you can choose which friends you make, for instance), and ultimately the game’s ending.
There are famous voice actors, like Simon Pegg
Game studios can’t afford to cut any corners when it comes to voice acting – not any more, when bona fide actors like Kit Harrington or Rami Malek have taken their turn at the mic. Correspondingly, this multi-million pound game boasts its own fair share of exciting acting talent to voice the inhabitants of Hogwarts.
Some of the highlights have to be Simon Pegg (who plays the snide Phineas Nigellus Black, the most unpopular headmaster Hogwarts has ever had) and Heartstopper’s Ben Croft, who will voice the male version of the player’s avatar. Oh, and Luke Youngblood (who played Lee Jordan in the films) will be back, this time to voice a student called Everett Clopton. Whew.
What have people been saying about it?
Regardless of your views on the Harry Potter franchise’s controversial author, anticipation for this game has been high. It was nominated for the Most Anticipated Game at 2022’s The Game Awards, as well as at the Golden Joystick Awards, and it has already become the most pre-ordered premium game ever on Steam.
However, it has also come in for its fair share of criticism, notably for being set during the Goblin Rebellion, as the depiction of goblins in the books and films has previously been linked to anti-Semitic tropes.
Where can I buy it and what platforms is it on?
Hogwarts: Legacy has ended up with rather a staggered rollout due to multiple delays.
For the PS5, Xbox X/S, and PC, the game will be launching on February 10 as planned.
However in December, it was announced that those with a PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch would be getting their versions later - April 4 and July 25 for the Switch, and this seems to be confirmed when you try to pre-order.