Hogwarts Legacy’s Ending Carries With It One Major Caveat

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Hogwarts Legacy has the chance to change the game for all Harry Potter adaptations, but the established timeline could be holding it back.

Hogwarts Legacy, the much-anticipated and often delayed Harry Potter prequel game is finally launching at the end of this year. Harry Potter games have a checkered history, but Portkey Games is optimistic this one can break the mold.

While there is an understandable level of hype for Hogwarts Legacy, fans around the globe should be a bit hesitant the prospect of a prequel. Since the main series concluded, new entries into the canon have seen mixed results. Between Cursed Child to the Fantastic Beasts films, it’s been a rocky road. Hogwarts Legacy will try to avoid the same mistakes as its predecessors, but the Harry Potter timeline could make this difficult.

Separating Hogwarts Legacy From the Harry Potter Movies

Hogwarts Legacy is confirmed to take place in the late 1800s, about a century before Harry Potter and his friends stumbled through the Great Hall. A new time period is the correct move for introducing new canon, but it could end up hurting the game in the long run. If players are unclear when the game takes place, they may find themselves disappointed about the lack of recognizable characters. The idea of exploring Hogwarts will be enough for many fans, but if there’s little beyond the locale connecting it to the hit books and movies, Hogwarts Legacy will leave a lot to be desired.

One interesting character that could make an appearance is Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of his generation. The exact years that Hogwarts Legacy takes place is unknown, however, fans do know that Dumbledore first attended Hogwarts in 1892, meaning he could be a classmate of the main protagonist. That said, using Dumbledore in Hogwarts Legacy could do more harm than good, as his inclusion could wind up getting in the way of the story Portkey is trying to tell.

A Lack of Plot Impact

The fact that Hogwarts Legacy is a prequel presents another set of challenges: nothing particularly notable can take place. If something happens, it creates a significant hole in the world’s canon, as Harry will have spent seven years without hearing about a significant wizarding conflict that took place on Hogwarts grounds. He skipped his fair share of classes, but that blind spot would be hard to believe.

Prequel storytelling in general can be a tricky craft, as keeping things too light can create the opposite problem by making the stakes feel inconsequential. The Fantastic Beasts series has introduced numerous plot holes to the Harry Potter canon, as creators played fast and loose with the timeline and established rules of the world. Even without those issues, nothing of consequence will happen to Newt Scamander or Albus Dumbledore, as they are both alive and well by the time Harry and friends climb aboard the Hogwarts Express.

This isn’t to say prequels are a lost cause. Rather than coasting off previous successes and known characters, prequels require the storyteller to establish connections between new characters and the audience – a more rewarding venture in the long run. Prequels also have the advantage of existing in a world with rules and lore that players already love. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is sometimes regarded as the best Star Wars game of all time for doing exactly that, but Fallen Order also has the advantage of taking place in a time period that connects with the Star Wars prequels, Star Wars Rebels, and even Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Hogwarts Legacy could wind up being one of the best games of the year, as its trailers look promising thanks to unique gameplay dynamics. But the developer will have to be careful with a story that has a known endpoint and few connections to the world that fans have already become attached to. Threading the needle to create an interesting narrative with these constraints is Hogwarts Legacy’s biggest challenge.

Hogwarts Legacy launches holiday 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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