Articles » The Upcoming Hogwarts Legacy: Should you board the ‘Hogwarts Hype Express’?

The Upcoming Hogwarts Legacy: Should you board the ‘Hogwarts Hype Express’?

The Upcoming Hogwarts Legacy: Should you board the ‘Hogwarts Hype Express’? download

Fans of the Harry Potter franchise have been starving when it comes to good game adaptations taking place in J. K. Rowling’s magical universe. While a few lesser known (and less successful) games have made their way to consumers on phones in 2018 with Portkey Games’ Hogwarts Mystery this hasn’t exactly managed to scratch that Hogwarts itch that many have had. Fans of the O.G. Harry Potter productions, such as the first three HP games for PC and Playstation consoles, have been sorely missing out on a deep and immersive gaming experience for years now. 

However, the Potter fandom is once again hyped due to the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy game which promises to scratch every muggle’s itch in an immersive roleplaying game that takes you through your final years at Hogwarts’ school of magic - and beyond! In fact, it would seem that you will be able to walk any path of witchcraft you might want while enjoying your time at Hogwarts; whether that be spellcasting, taking care of magical beasts, becoming a potion brewing expert, or dabbling in foreign magics (such as weather magic) or forbidden ones later associated with he–who-must-not-be-named and his brigade of Deatheaters. 

Older setting - same level of nostalgia

Despite the attempt at making a clever ‘hype train’ reference in the article’s header, we might not be able to see the iconic Hogwarts Express (the train that transports students to and from Hogwarts) in this new release. The trailer and any preliminary media has left out any mention or showcase of this means of transportation. In fact, the original teaser trailer for the game showed the player character arriving in an old carriage seemingly being pulled by magic (or perhaps the otherwise invisible Thestrals that fans of the universe got to know in the fifth installment of Harry Potter).The game is set in the 1800s - more than a century prior to Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley entering the halls of Hogwarts for the first time. 

Your magical story unfolding - not Harry Potter 2.0

One of the things that has managed to divide the player base already is the choice for the setting. Since most players have some kind of relationship with the franchise already (and maybe even have a strong sense of nostalgia), experiencing a story that takes place a hundred years earlier can make the game seem unfamiliar despite taking place in the same castle as the books / movies. 

On the other hand, this could also be one of the game’s stronger suits considering it allows the developers and players to play around with elements of the world that have otherwise been left untouched up to this point. Furthermore, it places a lot more emphasis on the importance of the player character’s witch or wizard and their own individual story. This is obviously tied together with - and supported by - the introduction of a character creation screen which lets you make a witch or wizard which reflects your own physical appearance; or looks completely unlike you. This is your story to explore and mold the way you want. 

Hogwarts in a new light - modern engine and its capabilities

Compared to some of the older versions of the games that have some rather outdated graphics (while Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone might have been the best selling game for PS1 during its prime, we can’t minimize how terribly the graphics have aged) Hogwarts Legacy has been updated to meet the crisp and colorful expectations modern gamers have come to expect.

Games featuring absolutely astonishing graphics such as Elden Ring has helped raise the bar for other games to up their graphic capabilities. Obviously, the necessity for incredibly realistic graphics has never been the biggest factor in this game setting as most of its elements (magic, fantastical beasts, and even unrealistic architecture and decór) are otherworldly regardless, thanks to the fantasy genre the game falls under. But modern engines are becoming increasingly adept at combining the realistic with the unrealistic.

Speaking of unrealistic, the game has been rumored to be made in either Unreal Engine 4 or Unreal Engine 5. A lot of players will probably hope for the latter option as its animation and fidelity tools are completely, well, unreal. While both of Epic Games’ engines are capable of creating absolutely breathtaking games, most players would probably value the extra smoothness and beauty that the newest engine provides. However, there has been no official statement as to which engine players can expect - we will have to wait and see. 

Choose which magical endeavor you wish to pursue and master

The game promises to have something fun and interesting for pretty much every type of player. For the people who enjoy immersion and roleplaying elements, you can roam around Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, or even take flight around the surrounding areas on a broom or a hippogriff in true Buckbeak and the Prisoner of Azkaban style. You will get to explore and immerse yourself completely in the open world 

For players who enjoy combat, the art of spellcasting should be just up their alley. During one’s stay at the older Hogwarts (and outside the school borders) players will be able to learn spells and incantations that are already familiar to fans of the universe as well as new and otherwise not-yet-seen ones. Whether your wizard or witch wants to walk the path of goodness with healing spells, charms, and transfiguration or walk closer to the darker side with jinxes, hexes, or even curses, players will have plenty ways of showing their wizardry might in both ends of the moral scale.

For gentler individuals, looking after plants or magical beings might be the biggest incentive out there to enjoy the game. Players can find herbs and other ingredients that can be alchemically altered and made into powerful boons or potions that pack a punch. The art of potion brewing is a delicate art and can be perfected by attending potion- and herbology classes at the school. Others might be more interested in the wondrous beasts that roam the areas outside of the school. There, you will be able to feed and take care of various fantastical beasts - some of which have never been seen before in the wizarding community. 

Final verdict

While the game certainly looks beautiful and very interesting (especially after its prolonged trailer that came out simultaneously with the State of Play earlier this year) the game might end up becoming disappointing like most of the more recent wizard games have been (we’re looking specifically at you, Harry Potter years 5-7 for PC and console). All we can do from here on out is to hope that the promise of a truly immersive open world, an engaging story that centers around you, and a progression system in true roleplay game style with talent points and investments in your character, actually pay off. 

To a lot of players, we’re sure that the game itself will both be a great relief and somewhat of a disappointment - this is to be expected from a franchise with such a fierce and loyal fanbase behind it. So, in the end, it’s up to the developers to create a game that manages to tick off all the promised features and to even go beyond the players’ overall expectations. And on the other side of the coin, it’s up to the players to manage their expectations in a realistic manner in order to limit their own sense of disappointment. 

After all, this game promises to capture various elements from the Harry Potter universe; but it is not a direct replica of any of the original games, movies, or books but is a kind of un-canonical prequel. J. K. Rowling also isn’t working directly with the creators of the game in order to create a game experience that is as authentic to her original vision as possible, but people from her team are actively engaging in the production of the game albeit with the reins being mostly in Warner Bros. and Portkey Games’ hands. All in all, we believe that this game will be a smash hit based on what we have seen of the game so far. The future will tell whether our prediction can hold water or should be hidden beneath an invisibility cloak.