Some gamers are criticizing Wired Magazine after a reviewer gave the video game “Hogwarts Legacy” a negative review over JK Rowling’s opinions about transgenderism.
The reviewer, Jaina Grey, started the review by bringing up J.K. Rowling’s past comments on transgender individuals and policies. Grey criticized the game for being “rooted in anti-Semitic tropes” and claimed that there’s no good reason to buy it unless you want to “cause harm.”
Grey, who is trans, claimed that Rowling’s views caused harm to trans people, and that the game cannot be separated from the views of the author who inspired it. “Since 2019 though, the once-beloved children’s author has—well, she’s had some opinions. About people like me. And whether or not we should exist,” Grey wrote.
“Every homophobic or transphobic thing queer kids hear growing up becomes a voice that follows them for a long time,” Grey added.
@WIRED gave Hogwarts Legacy a 1/10 in their “game review.” That would indicate the game is Superman 64 levels of bad.
It’s just an activist’s rant, not a review.
Hogwarts Legacy REVIEW BOMBED by Activist Game Journos! Wired Gave it a … https://t.co/gacI8p8PwQ via @YouTube
— Kneon (@Kneon) February 10, 2023
“The game industry is far queerer than most people realize. All the things you know and love about your favorite games were made by queer people,” Grey added.
The author lamented the lack of “LGBTQIA+ people” and allies involved with the creation of the game and said the lack of empathy from the wider Harry Potter fanbase is a result of not involving members of this community more.
“In the yawning emptiness at the heart of Hogwarts Legacy I see the quiet solidarity of queer people and our allies in game development,” Grey said. “The people who just said no when the job offers came their way. The ones who didn’t answer the emails from Portkey Games, the ones who politely let their coworkers know that working on a Harry Potter game would be harmful to the trans community, the ones who listened and said, ‘Okay, yeah, thanks for letting me know.’”
The personal disappointment in Rowling’s transgender views made Grey avoid updates and media surrounding the game, according to the review. Grey claims that she did not want to get excited about the prospect of playing the game due to the disagreement with Rowling.
“I didn’t want to see the gameplay,” Grey said. “I didn’t want to be awed by trailers.”
In the assessment of the actual gameplay, Grey criticized both the graphics for looking dated and claimed the characters feel “like an animatronic Chuck-E-Cheese robot.” Grey states that this iteration of Hogwarts is “lifeless” and has no “sense of place,” adding that the character motivations aren’t particularly compelling.
At the bottom of the review is a link to the Trans Lifeline charity. (RELATED: New Study Claims Trans Patients Unhappy With Their New Bodies Suffer From ‘Internalized Transphobia’)
The game received a one out of 10, a sharp divergence from the mostly positive reception the game has received. Several review outlets have posted disclaimers in their reviews to to acknowledge Rowling’s past comments on transgender policy.
However, the controversy has not seemed to impact the success of the game itself. “Hogwarts Legacy” sits at the top of multiple sales charts, and currently holds a 9.1 user score on Metacritic.