Fans react to new 'Harry Potter' game that encourages players to 'be evil': 'Why would you want to play?'

Previews for the new Harry Potter game have dropped and all anyone can take away from them is that players won’t be judged or penalized for committing crimes.

Hogwarts Legacy drops Feb. 10, and lead designer Kelly Murphy told Gamesradar that it was essential to the team to give players the option to play as a “Dark Witch or Wizard.”

“This is the ultimate embodiment of role-playing: allowing the player to be evil,” she said. “Additionally, this was important because it comes from a place of nonjudgment by the game creators. If you want to be evil, be evil.”

The whole “if you want to be evil, be evil” mentality is the antithesis of the original books and movies, which emphasize morality, justice and love. In the game, players are allowed to use “Unforgivable curses,” which are discussed at length in the Harry Potter series and used primarily by the “evil” characters.

For a refresher, there are three Unforgivable curses in this universe: Avada Kedavra (the Killing Curse), Crucio (the Cruciatus Curse, to torture people) and Imperio (the Imperius Curse, to control people).

The spells can be used on any character in the game — including fellow students — allegedly without penalty.

For TikTokers, the moral conflict might not be that deep. For the most part, social media seems to be excited about the idea of wreaking havoc in the game, with some even joking that this is like a crossover between Harry Potter and Grand Theft Auto.

“This game is going to have a Geneva convention,” one commenter wrote. “The amount of war crimes [and] atrocities that are going to happen in the first week.”

“Everyone of us … is gonna avada kedavra someone at least 5 times,” another said. “If you say no to that, you lying.”

It’s hard not to connect the “nonjudgment” attitude of the game to the controversy surrounding Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Debates within the gaming community over whether buying and playing the game indirectly support Rowling’s anti-trans comments. Rowling does continue to earn royalties from all Harry Potter adaptations.

The conflict between viewing Harry Potter in a nostalgic light and acknowledging the longstanding criticisms of the series comes up again in Hogwarts Legacy when players are expected to stop a goblin rebellion. The depictions of house elves and goblins in the book series have been dubbed racist and antisemitic, but now players will actively be squashing the population from … fighting for rights.

“Why would you want to play a videogame about extinguishing a rebellion of oppressed people?” one Twitter user asked.

Alan Tew, the game’s director, was as close to addressing Rowling’s controversies as directly as he could without actually naming her.

“I think for us there are challenges in every game we’ve worked on,” Tew said. “We know our fans fell in love with the Wizarding World, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons.”

If you or someone you know needs support after experiencing anti-trans violence or bias, contact a trans-identified counselor through the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860. You can also contact the Anti-Violence Project at 212-714-1141, or connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Find a local therapist well-versed in trans identity and liberation through the Inclusive Therapists directory.

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