If you had announced a giant open-world RPG set in the world of Harry Potter five years ago, people would have lost their collective butts to hype and Warner Brothers would have more pre-orders than stars in the sky. But a lot has happened in those five years, including the tainting of the once-beloved children series by its author, J.K Rowling, who has come out as a major TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) recently. That alone would dull the enthusiasm of any would-be players for Hogwarts Legacy, as generally speaking Harry Potter fans are the type of people who actually give a crap about these kind of social issues.
But over the weekend, Kotaku pointed out — with the help of Did You Know Gaming? contributor Liam Robertson — that J.K Rowling isn’t the only toxic individual attached to Hogwarts Legacy. Indeed, it’s been discovered that the lead designer at Warner Bros. development studio Avalanche Software, Troy Leavitt, had a youtube channel where he posted years’s worth of anti-feminist and anti-social justice content.
In these videos, he called gamergate a good thing, defended known sexual abusers John Lasseter and Nolan Bushnell, and criticized popular feminist icon Anita Sarkeesian for her now famous series Tropes vs. Women. That alone would be troubling, but he even claimed that he made sure Warner Brother was aware of his videos before they hired him, and they weren’t too bothered by the content. Which would mean they didn’t object — or at least, object strongly — to that particular kind of commentary.
His last video was posted in 2018, and it would be a mistake to say his videos were ever incredibly popular or viewed a bunch. But all the same, it’s a troubling attitude to have for someone who’s supposed to be leading a game that’s supposed to appeal to people from all backgrounds.
While I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say he should be fired for these views, or even stripped of his position, I would like to hear Warner Brother’s explain why they thought these kind of opinions were okay for a man of his prominence within their company. I’m more concerned about their ambivalence than his opinions.
But as of yet, Warner Brothers has not issued a response to the article.