During a recent company Q&A, WB Games president David Haddad fielded employee questions about Hogwarts Legacy and its association with author JK Rowling. Developed by Avalanche Software and published by the Portkey Games imprint, Hogwarts Legacy is an RPG set 100 years prior to the events in the Harry Potter series. The game was announced during the most recent PS5 showcase, and is set to release sometime next year. Apparently, multiple employees asked about Rowling's history of transphobic comments. Haddad provided his response to journalist Jason Schreier, who shared it on Twitter. Haddad's response can be found in the Tweet embedded below.
Today during a company Q&A, Warner Bros. Games president David Haddad addressed employees' questions surrounding the recent announcement of Hogwarts Legacy and Harry Potter author JK Rowling's anti-trans comments. His comments, per video clip sent to me this afternoon: pic.twitter.com/cbYZ0JT9c0— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) September 30, 2020
Haddad's response walks the line between distancing the company from Rowling's comments, and still being careful not to insult the author. While the answer might not be the one that fans and employees are looking for, it's not all that surprising. The reality is, everyone involved in the game's development now finds themselves in an unenviable position. Development on Hogwarts Legacy has been going on for years now, and the game's success or failure can have an impact on dozens of careers.
Video game development takes a lot of time, and a lot can change in the real world during that process. Rowling's history of transphobic comments began on Twitter late last year, but the author has doubled down in recent months. It would have been impossible for Haddad and the rest of the team to have known that Rowling would have made those comments before development on Hogwarts Legacy started. While some Harry Potter fans will be able to separate art from artist, others will not be able to do so. As such, the situation is unfortunate for fans and developers alike.