Hogwarts Legacy gameplay captures the magic of the books
A fully-realized adventure
Well, that's a wrap on our Hogwarts Legacy live blog. The Sony State of Play did exactly what we'd hoped, giving us a whole heap of detail about how the Harry Potter RPG would play.
After two long years of waiting since the original reveal trailer, it's good to finally have a sense of the adventure Warner Bros is working on. Set in the 1800s, Hogwarts Legacy will have enough distance from the books that it won't star many familiar faces (outside of the ghosts walking the school halls), but it will the spirit of the game is that of a Harry Potter adventure. What came through strongly in the stream was the sense of discovery and adventure Hogwarts Legacy holds.
The stream didn't directly address the controversies surrounding the game and JK Rowling, the books' author. The developers have talked about wanting to make an inclusive game for all Harry Potter fans, and by opening on the character creator, and having the player character in the demo be an Asian avatar will have been nods to that. Though, whether it's enough will be evident in the reaction to today's reveals in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, you can watch the full presentation below or have a read through our archived liveblog to see a running a commentary of what was shown off.
Now, onto the show.
And we're off!
The stream begins with an introduction to the character creator and sorting system. You will be shuffled into one of the houses based off your answers to the hat's questions and each house will offer a different path through the school.
Unusually, you won't be starting the school in first year, but jumping straight into fifth.
Interestingly, Hogwarts Legacy isn't set in the modern day, like the Harry Potter books. You'll be a student in the 1800s, which is why none of the professors you know from the books will feature in the game. Though, some of the ghosts will be familiar - with Nearly Headless Nick making an appearance.
I look forward to the side quest where you're trying to get him enrolled on the headless hunt.
There's a main story that runs through Hogwarts Legacy, just in case you were worried that the game would let you loose in the school with no direction. Working with Professor Fig, you'll be investigating a goblin rebellion.
This should give us a closer look at the inner workings of Gringotts Bank, but personally, I'd be keen to have the action remain centered in the school and its many nooks and crannies.
While combat and lessons will be a big part of your time in Hogwarts Legacy, it's clear that there will be a lot of wandering around the school and discovering its secrets.
Using the spells you unlock, through lessons and friendships with other students, you'll find new ways of navigating the space. Dragging bookcases together in the library to open up pathways to hidden rooms, for instance.
For Harry Potter fans who have been absorbed by the books, it must be a thrilling prospect to be able to walk the halls of this school and see places for your own eyes that have only lived on the pages.
Next we're onto combat. Naturally, there's a lots of it in Hogwarts Legacy - from duelling with other students, fighting dark wizards, and putting a stop to a goblin rebellion.
Spells will be your main tool in combat - though, there are also powerful potions to give you an edge in battle. Your spells can be stitched together to perform combos, too, with a flick of your wand sending stunning enemies and sending them high up into the air where you can hit them with follow up attacks.
As a fifth-year student you'll be catching up with your classmates, and for that you'll be using the Room of Requirement. In the books this space changes to fit the needs of whoever walks through its doors, becoming a training room for Dumbledore's Army (or a bathroom for a wizard caught short late at night).
In Hogwarts Legacy it becomes a room where you can install equipment that lets you unlock and upgrade your abilities, leveling up your power. As you grow stronger you'll unlock and improve your spells for combat, but also learn skills that let you reach new parts of the school and areas beyond.
While we were expecting Warner Bros would announce a specific Hogwarts Legacy release date, the publisher wasn't quite as exact as we were hoping. Instead, the State of Play's main segment ended simply by saying that it would be released in 'Holiday 2022'. Will that be as late as December or is September still on the cards? After all, International Literacy Day is right there on September 8 - what better way to mark the occasion than with a massive Harry Potter game?
If you don't have time to watch the full State of Play, Warner Bros has released a cut down version focusing on just the action of Hogwarts Legacy.
You can see that below:
That was just a taste of #HogwartsLegacy — your full adventure in the Wizarding World is still to come. pic.twitter.com/Lw84hs1PdxMarch 17, 2022
It really does look like a magical open-world game. While you will be leaving the school at times, it feels rare that you have so much attention paid to a single location. I know everything gets compared to Dark Souls these days, but is Hogwarts Legacy going to the Lordran of Harry Potter games?
(No, Julian, obviously not, that's the pressure of the live blog getting to you.)
There are a lot of happy Harry Potter fans on Twitter at the moment, saying how beautiful the game looks but also likening it to the way they felt when they first saw the films 20 years ago:
#HogwartsLegacy looks amazing, it's a game I've been wanting since I saw the first movie 20+ years ago.Can't wait for holiday 2022! pic.twitter.com/dYbNAIipd5March 17, 2022
(Side note, realizing the films were released 20 years ago has made me feel exceedingly old.)
As dilemma go, I hadn't even considered there was a possibility God of War would be competing with Harry Potter. But then again, both games are likely to feature goblins, dragons, and potions. They're basically one and the same:
Absolutely in LOVE with what I saw! Please God of War, don’t release at the same time 😅✨ #HogwartsLegacy pic.twitter.com/u251iXIBLFMarch 17, 2022
A detail I missed during the stream, with one eye on the feed and the other on the live blog was that we were given a quick look at the common rooms of all four houses.
This includes the first time we've ever seen inside the Hufflepuff common room. A big day for Hufflepuffs around the world:
🎮 The 4 Hogwarts Houses Common Rooms in #HogwartsLegacy! Which one will you choose? pic.twitter.com/prms4S8JOLMarch 17, 2022
Okami Games sums up what a lot of fans seem to be reaching for on Twitter. Hogwarts Legacy doesn't seem to be a thin approach to a Harry Potter game, instead it looks like a fully-realized open-world exploration of the wizarding world:
That showing for Hogwarts Legacy 1000% lived up to the hype and was worth the long wait.Looks like the dream game fans of the franchise have always wanted. #StateofPlay #HogwartsLegacy pic.twitter.com/vO7EHvoGYnMarch 17, 2022
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