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Harry Potter Game Shows Off Some Straight-Up Wizard Murder

The Dark Arts Battle Arena lets you pay an extra $10 to try out kill curses early

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Wizards prepare a potion to wipe away their crimes.
Image: Avalanche Studios / Warner Bros. Games

Hogwarts Legacy is just a couple months away and if you haven’t been paying attention, the Harry Potter spin-off isn’t messing around. The game will let players learn the series’ infamous unspeakable curses and even use them on students. A new gameplay reveal ups the ante even further though, showing off the game’s Dark Arts Battle Arena where $10 extra bucks nets you the opportunity to instantly murder goblins and wizards.

Avalanche Studios’ second gameplay showcase for Hogwarts Legacy aired earlier today, showing off flight on broomsticks and hippogriffs, as well as the game’s customization options and Room of Requirement home base. As IGN points out, however, the most eye-catching part was a trip to the Dark Arts Battle Arena where, playing as a young Hogwarts student, the developers instantly melted some rando using the Avada Kedavra curse.

The developers explain that battle arenas allow players to test out abilities early to see whether they want to invest in unlocking them. Completing combat challenges there also unlocks new outfits and other cosmetics. The Dark Arts Battle Arena is unique, however, in being exclusive to the Deluxe Edition which costs $10 extra, and allowing early access to dark arts abilities like the Avada Kedavra curse. In the gameplay demo the student is shown ripping through waves of “loyalist” goblins, presumably dark wizards, and other enemies.

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Gif: Avalanche Studios / Kotaku

For those unfamiliar with the world of Harry Potter, the Avada Kedavra is one of a number of illegal curses that kill and torture. It’s also the one that Voldemort used to murder the titular character’s parents. Hogwarts Legacy takes place roughly a hundred years before the books, which might explain the seemingly blase attitude of the in-universe characters to child torture and underage battle arenas.

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The jarring juxtaposition is par for the course with Hogwarts Legacy. Caught in the shadow of author J.K. Rowling’s transphobic crusade and the royalties she continues to earn from all Harry Potter adaptations, the game’s very existence is controversial. It’s also continued to be delayed. Previously expected this fall, Hogwarts Legacy is now slated to release in February. Yesterday, however, Warner Bros. announced that the Xbox One and PS4 versions wouldn’t be out until April, with the Nintendo Switch version coming even later in June.

In the meantime, the game appears poised to test players’ morale compasses in more ways than one. As my fellow writer Sisi Jiang joked earlier today, “You know the good thing about trans people presumably excluded at hogwarts is that they don’t have to experience the trauma of murdering another human for blood sport.”

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