Hogwarts Legacy has hit the shelves and, unsurprisingly, so has the dilemma of whether or not you should buy it. There are many arguments for and against, but one that keeps popping up is the idea that we should be supporting the developers who made the game, and not letting the material harm one person poses to an entire minority community hurt those workers too. Well, even the workers don't want to support the game, with one developer publicly stating they won't be buying it.
Parker Hartzler tweeted a screenshot of their name in the game's credits on February 7, alongside the caption "I will not be purchasing the game - it is the least I can do as an ally". He added, "Trans people do not deserve to have people like JKR grow and prosper - any ammunition to the wrong side is damage to a society I would otherwise wish to see in the future." Rowling acknowledged recently that she still gets royalties from the Harry Potter IP and she has used her money to donate to a woman suing LBGTQ charity Stonewall.
Hartzler also addressed people calling him a hypocrite for working on the game in the first place. Here's where the often misused phrase "no ethical consumption under capitalism" actually works. "Had I not shown up to work I would have been promptly fired and homeless soon", he explains.
He goes on to say, "It was my first job in the industry, and I had no influence over what clients the studio decided to bring in. If I did have that kind of leverage, or held any form of seniority, I would have been an advocate against picking it up". Hartzler was part of a company that development work on the game was outsourced to. Like many developers working on Hogwarts Legacy, he had to make a choice between sacrificing his own livelihood or working on a game that would profit Rowling.
The game does include a trans NPC, with a very offensive name - like many minority characters in Harry Potter such as Cho Chang and Kingsely Shacklebolt - but reports claim this character was added simply to distract from the backlash caused by Rowling's transphobic views.
People disagree over whether or not it's moral to play this game - it's not - and it was recently sensationally reported that the girlfriend of Girlfriend Reviews was bullied into a stream of tears by abusive Twitch chatters. It turns out people were very mildly expressing their disappointment, but a clip was taken out of context and blown out of proportion. This story sought to victimise a cis woman and frame trans people and allies as bullies for explaining why they don't support the decision to play the game.
Some streamers have also started a boycott of the game's aggressive ad campaign on Twitch, but it's unlikely this will make much impact unless bigger streamers back it too.
next: Video Games Don't Need To Have A Point