You can learn more about the upcoming game, slated for 2021 here. And for a deep dive into the trailer, simply read on!
We are immediately greeted with a flying carriage, carrying some packed luggage and a barn owl perched atop, soaring to Hogwarts by moonlight. A familiar image. In the Harry Potter books, there are two ways to get from the Hogwarts Express to the castle – first-years travel by boat (and hope to Merlin they don’t fall into the Great Lake like Dennis Creevey once did) while the older students take flying carriages. But, as we learn in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, these are actually carriages pulled by Thestrals: magical horse-type creatures who can only be seen by those that have witnessed death. This moment also reminds us of the opening of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, where the titular villain is seen riding a similar one.
The trailer establishes when the game is set very early on – the late 1800s. What with all the candles and quills and parchment, Hogwarts was always an old-worldly establishment, even when we visited the Harry Potter stories in the 1990s – so we wonder how really different the school will be in an earlier century?
To many, the voiceover from the trailer may have seemed quite familiar. That’s because this happens to be Jim Dale, the much-loved voice of the Harry Potter audiobooks in the US. Hearing Jim’s commentary over the top of Hogwarts Legacy trailer will no doubt be a great comfort to the many fans who grew up with him narrating the books.
Speaking of familiar sights, it isn’t long before we are ushered into the Great Hall, complete with floating candles and students happily tucking into one of Hogwarts’ legendary feasts. The impressive graphics of the game allow us to see this location in a whole new light, with reams of detail packed in, from the stained-glass windows to the Hogwarts house crests draped over the tables.
It becomes quickly apparent just how detailed every room of Hogwarts really is in the game, with glimpses of hallways, suits of armour and enchanted staircases, fully developed in high definition. You also see shots of different corridors and maybe even common rooms – which presumably we’ll get to frequent, depending on what house we’re in! One particular room we get to see a lot of in the trailer is the Hogwarts library, packed to the brim with intricately placed nuances. We can see new portraits of wizards we have yet to learn about, shelves full to the brim with books, and even a student fast asleep on top of their work. The attention to detail is stunning!
As we cut to the Sorting Ceremony, we see Hogwarts staff supervising a student about to be sorted. They may be new staff to our eyes, but some things never change, such as the inclusion of the beloved Sorting Hat. Even over a century ago, it was still all shabby and patched up!
Actually, that should really be old Hogwarts professors. Throughout the trailer, there are Hogwarts staff members dotted everywhere, including the aforementioned two wizards supervising the Sorting Ceremony and a red-headed professor in the greenhouses teaching Herbology. We also see a sullen wizard with long, dark hair strolling around with some sort of bottle. Perhaps a Potions Master? If so, it sounds like the profession lends itself well to sullen, dark-haired wizards, if Severus Snape is anything to go by.
The trailer showcases magical creatures that we recognise from both Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts films, including one student feeding some adorable, wide-eyed Mooncalves. We also spotted a troll, a dragon, a hippogriff, a Graphorn and a few darker creatures that we’ll come on to shortly.
This mechanical wizard caught our eye, seemingly Transfigured from a mirror. We’re sure we can expect to see all sorts of imaginative spells and interesting new pieces of witchcraft taught to us during our studies in Hogwarts Legacy.
The nearby wizarding village of Hogsmeade will be a key location students can visit during some downtime from their studies. We’re already looking forward to getting a flagon of Butterbeer in the Hog’s Head.
We all know how impossibly grandiose and huge Hogwarts castle is, but the game also promises that we’ll be able to go “beyond those walls”. While we already know we’ll be visiting Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest, in one shot of the trailer, we see a Hippogriff flying over the grounds to a rocky area in the distance. In another shot, we see a stone, spiral wall magically opening, as well as otherworldly caves and underground crevasses. So, while Hogwarts and its grounds will feel comfortingly familiar to Wizarding World fans, expect to also explore the unfamiliar...
Of course, this wouldn’t be the wizarding world without the darker elements, and the trailer reveals that both Inferi (undead corpses) and Dementors (soul-sucking beings) will appear in the game at some point, most likely for you, the player, to overcome. The presence of these beings also suggests we’ll be visiting them in their habitats – the Inferi seem to be roaming a cave (surely not the one Harry and Dumbledore go to on an ill-fated trip?) and the Dementors could well be coming from Azkaban. We also spot a battle with a giant spider, which we’re assuming is an Acromantula. Arachnophobes, beware.
It also appears that we’ll be meeting some new Dark wizards and witches too. A wizard in an animal skull-esque mask appears towards the end of the trailer, immediately conjuring up connotations of the Death Eaters. He’s also draped in animal attire – look closer and you’ll see his clothes are themed around fur and fangs. What could this mean?
What did you spot?
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Hogwarts Legacy, part of the Portkey Games label, is due for release in 2021. Visit the official website for more details.