Hogwarts Legacy’s snub by The Game Awards 2023 is a disgrace

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Hogwarts Legacy: Hogwarts Castle

The Game Awards 2023 nominations were recently revealed, and all the highly praised games of the year were amongst the nominations – almost. Fans immediately noticed that one of the most popular games of the year was missing from every single category, Hogwarts Legacy.

Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world Harry Potter action RPG that was highly anticipated before it hit the shelves in February this year. The game was first announced back in September 2020 during a PlayStation 5 event for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC. It was developed by Avalanche Software and published by Portkey Games, a Warner Bros. Games label. Founded in 1995, this was Avalanche Software’s biggest-ever project and was their first-ever ‘proper’ AAA game. Their most notable project before Hogwarts Legacy was Disney Infinity, a game series that never performed great. This resume called for some scepticism from fans for a ‘small’ studio to take on such an ambitious project. To everyone’s surprise, the game launched to very positive reviews and exceeded the expectations of many cautiously optimistic fans.

Hogwarts Legacy: Lumos

Hogwarts Legacy broke the curse of the mediocre Harry Potter games of the past and ended up being highly praised across all platforms. Recently, Hogwarts Legacy was also released on the Nintendo Switch to good reviews. One of the biggest reasons for the game’s success was the incredible work of the development team. They had set a very ambitious goal, and they delivered what they had promised. Avalanche Software stuck to the source material, the Harry Potter books, and ensured that any changes were approved by J.K Rowling’s team.

The development team’s passion for the game is what resulted in Hogwarts Legacy selling 15 million copies by the first quarter of 2023 and generating over $1 billion in retail sales since its release. About 11 months ago, the game had a player count all-time peak of 879,308 on the Steam version of the game. It was also reported that Hogwarts Legacy sold 256% more than WB Games’ predicted sales. That milestone was reached only from the sales attributed to PC and current-gen consoles.

Hogwarts Legacy: Inside the room of requirement

With the very high quality of games that came out in 2023, it’s safe to assume that Hogwarts Legacy would not claim the Game of the Year award and it makes sense for it to not be nominated for that particular category. However, The Game Awards 2023 hosts over 30 categories to nominate games ranging from Game of the Year to the Best Debut Indie Game to the Best Esports Game. Fans were surprised that despite the popularity of the game at launch amongst both the players and journalists, the “international jury of over 100 global media and influencer outlets” did not deem the game worthwhile to be nominated for any category at all.

There has been a lot of criticism from gaming influencers and players alike regarding Hogwarts Legacy being snubbed entirely from The Game Awards 2023. One of the most popular reasons why the game has been ignored is due to the political controversies surrounding its development cycle and launch. The game faced a backlash from certain members of the online community for its ties to J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter author has long been under scrutiny for her comments regarding the trans community.

Rowling’s comments in 2020 resulted in a vocal majority on social media attempting to cancel her and anything associated with her, including Harry Potter. A portion of the community similarly attempted to ‘cancel’ Hogwarts Legacy by review-bombing and encouraging the game to be boycotted (which did not work out so well). After launch, the focus of the hate campaign turned to the themes of slavery and anti-semitism in the game. Hogwarts Legacy’s plot included the race of goblins (the bankers from Harry Potter) rebelling against the wizarding world that had enslaved them for a long time. Parallels were drawn between a fictional world and reality, and the game was attacked online for being anti-Semitic and pro-slavery just like J.K Rowling.

It is apparent that the organisers of The Game Awards 2023 did not want anything to do with the game whatsoever. This has also been pointed out by gaming influencers and numerous players on social media. Although everyone agrees it did not deserve GOTY, it is the consensus that it deserved to belong in the other categories. One of the most deserving nominations for the game was for the Best Art Direction. The lore of Harry Potter exists primarily in the novels followed by the movies. Avalanche extracted all the little details in the world of Harry Potter, bringing them to life in a game in a late-1800s setting.

The Hogwarts castle was the focal point of the game, with a huge amount of detail and art design going towards creating the most ‘magical’ lore-accurate castle. You were able to interact with numerous items within the walls with numerous easter eggs and mysteries to be discovered. Furthermore, the world outside of Hogwarts was huge and impressively detailed from its beautiful visuals to the mysterious creatures roaming the lands to the world inside the room of requirement. Hogwarts legacy immediately pulled you into a world of immersion and that boils down to its impressive art direction. Many big studios may not have been able to pull off this feat. The other nominations in the category are certainly impressive in their rights but Hogwarts Legacy deserved its due recognition.

Another category that Hogwarts Legacy certainly deserved a nomination for is the Best Score and Music. Anyone who did not even like Hogwarts Legacy would struggle with their complaints against the game’s music and score. From relaxing and beautiful soundtracks to great general sound design, Hogwart Legacy excelled in the department. It certainly would have secured the nomination if the nominees had been selected without prejudice. There are also other categories such as Best Community Support for which an argument for the nomination could be made.

It is unfair to say that Hogwarts Legacy would and should have won in those categories if it were nominated. 2023 was an incredible year for gaming and we, the gamers, were blessed with such a strong lineup of games. However, not even seeing a single mention of Hogwarts Legacy and the brilliant work done by Avalanche software speaks volumes. The Game Awards 2023 has certainly muddied their reputation by snubbing Hogwarts Legacy. Their attempts to ignore the game just to avoid any controversial headlines is a disgrace to the video game industry.

Hogwarts Legacy: Hogwarts during daytime

I hope that the talented individuals at Avalanche Software don’t take the nominations too seriously because the numbers speak for themselves. Hogwarts Legacy is one of the most popular games of the year and every fan would be happily anticipating what the future holds for this IP. Until then…Mischief Managed.

Author

  • Sheharyar Ahmad

    An energy engineer by trade but an enthusiastic gamer by passion. Starting his gaming adventure with a GameCube, Sheharyar's love for narrative and action-based storytelling made him a PlayStation fan since the PS2 era. He has a love for a wide range of gaming genres ranging from Pokémon to inFamous to God of War.

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1 Comment

  1. Agreed. I’m not even a Harry Potter fan. I’ve just seen a few of the movies and never read the books and that game is one of the most magical experiences I’ve had with a game since I first walked out of the sewers in Elder Scrolls Oblivion. It was amazing from start to finish and I’d pay for DLC in a heartbeat. Yes, what’s her name is a moron. Who cares and what does it have to do with the game?

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