May 5, 2023
ESA, in partnership with Warner Bros. Games and Avalanche Software, hosted a behind-the-scenes webinar for congressional staffers to provide a glimpse into the game design process for the global game phenomenon Hogwarts Legacy. The event featured a conversation with Hogwarts Legacy Game Director, Alan Tew, who gave Hill staffers a look into the creative and technical forces driving the video game’s development.
Released in February 2023, Hogwarts Legacy has already surpassed global records and positioned itself as a leading epic in the video game community. The success of Hogwarts Legacy, currently positioned as the second biggest Steam Peak for a single-player game in history, exhibits the excitement of Harry Potter fans as the franchise transitions from the movie screens to the gaming console. Through third-person role playing, players can revisit classic Hogwarts landmarks, participate in iconic wizarding world traditions and navigate new narratives.
The Hogwarts Legacy development team faced the unique challenge of balancing two equally paramount interests: employing innovative video game technologies to create a dynamic game while upholding the accuracy and authenticity of the Wizarding World. The stakes for Warner Bros. Games and Avalanche Software were high leading up to the game’s release and the responsibility of doing the original story justice was not taken lightly.
“We had a rule of thumb, for every one new thing we added we wanted to have nine things that were familiar because what we were trying to do is build trust with our audience. We care about them, we care about the property and we’re a good shepherd for them through this new experience.”
Tew engaged with congressional staffers on a wide range of topics including technical design and storyboard considerations. In all of these components, Tew emphasized the importance of preserving the original wizarding world magic while allowing players to experience their own, individualized Hogwarts journey: “We wanted to make sure, just like Harry had this wide world of possibility… [That] you had a similar vibe in a location that you knew and loved… We wanted to give you that same opportunity to be the hero.”
While translating the magic of Hogwarts from a movie screen and books to a video game came with difficulties, the environment of the Wizarding World lent itself nicely to this adaptation: “The world has a way of drawing people in and asking, ‘how would you behave’ and ‘what would be different if you were there.’”
With Hogwarts Legacy, Warner Bros. Games has taken the Wizarding World to a whole new level, and ESA is grateful for their partnership in sharing the magic behind the game.
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About the ESA
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) serves as the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry. Its members are the innovators, creators, publishers and business leaders that are reimagining entertainment and transforming how we interact, learn, connect and play. The ESA works to expand and protect the dynamic marketplace for video games through innovative and engaging initiatives that showcase the positive impact of video games on people, culture and the economy. For more information, visit the ESA’s website or follow the ESA on Twitter @theESA.