Hogwarts Legacy lead designer Troy Leavitt has announced that he's stepping away from the upcoming Harry Potter RPG. The developer was caught in the spotlight late last month after a number of old videos and tweets surfaced that stirred up controversy.
As first pointed out by journalist Liam Robertson, Leavitt once operated a YouTube channel with "anti-fem" and "pro GG" videos. Content on his channel includes uploads with titles such as "The Injustice of Social Justice," "In Praise of Cultural Appropriation," and "Are Thoughtcrimes Becoming Real?" In one lengthy upload, he can be heard defending former Pixar co-founder John Lasseter, who parted ways with Disney in 2017 following serious accusations of misconduct.
Not long after Leavitt's channel resurfaced, video game forum ResetEra made the decision to ban all discussion of news, announcements, and any kinds of promotional material related to Hogwarts Legacy. Admins decided that between Leavitt and the repeated trans-exclusionary comments made by Harry Potter creator J.K Rowling over the last few years, it could no longer support any kind of promotion of the game.
"This is the first time we've done something like this and we consider this a very exceptional case," admins wrote. "It's not just one bigoted game designer that made the difference here. JK Rowling's singular reach and influence, how closely that influence is tied to the Harry Potter IP, and what she chooses to do with that power, is a unique problem on top of this latest controversy."
Now, Leavitt himself has taken to Twitter to reveal that he's parting ways with Avalanche Software and Warner Bros. The developer insists that this was an amicable split, that he felt "secure in his position", and that he remains in "excellent spirits". He also promised to return to the aforementioned YouTube channel soon to explain more.
Earlier this week it was confirmed that Hogwarts Legacy would feature trans-inclusive options in its character creation tool, an announcement many feel was designed to soften the current controversy surrounding the RPG.
It's also worth noting that Warner Bros. Games president David Haddad said last year that Rowling had the "right to her opinions", so it's unlikely that the studio would have outright fired Leavitt. I suppose we'll find out when he explains more about what happened in the next few days.
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