Warner Brothers, publisher of the upcoming open-world Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy, released an FAQ on the game’s official Discord yesterday. In addition to answering questions about the game’s development and platforms, the FAQ asserts that Rowling, who’s recently drawn criticism for transphobic statements, has no involvement in the game.
Teased in yesterday’s PS5 event, Hogwarts Legacy is an action role-playing game set at Hogwarts 100 years before the events of the Harry Potter series. Reaction to the game was mixed, with many fans mourning the existence of a game that was much desired but still irrevocably tied to Rowling, who has on numerous occasions made statements on social media that discriminate against trans women or support trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) figures. Rowling’s statements have drawn condemnation from fans, as well as Harry Potter film actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redymane.
Warner Brothers’ FAQ reads that “J.K. Rowling was not involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World. This is not a new story from J.K. Rowling.” (An FAQ on Warner Brothers’ support site alters this wording to “not directly involved,” though both have identical explanations of the scope of Rowling’s participation.)
A spokesperson for Warner Brothers declined to comment further when asked by Kotaku whether Rowling would receive royalties for Hogwarts Legacy. When asked whether the studio had any comment on Rowling’s beliefs, the company referred Kotaku to a statement Warner Brothers. released in June to Variety.
“The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues,” the Variety statement reads. “Warner Bros.’ position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
Harry Potter mobile game Hogwarts Mystery has a similar FAQ point regarding Rowling’s involvement in the game, which reads, “J.K. Rowling was not involved in the creation of the game. J.K. Rowling is supportive of Portkey Games, which are authentic to the Wizarding World, and has entrusted the design and creation of the games to WB Games and the developers involved.”
On Twitter, many current and former Harry Potter fans expressed a range of emotions and opinions about Hogwarts Legacy and its connection to Rowling. Some fans said they are unwilling to purchase a game that may support Rowling, while others stated that they’d be willing to purchase the game to support its developers. Noting Rowling’s lack of creative input into Hogwarts Legacy may be an attempt to distance it from its transphobic creator while also appealing to conflicted fans.