Today’s PlayStation State of Play presentation focused solely on Avalanche Software and Portkey Games’ upcoming Harry Potter prequel game Hogwarts Legacy.
The game puts players in the robes of a custom character and sends them to school at the legendary wizarding academy Hogwarts. However, Legacy takes place in the late 1800s, meaning players are free to embark on their own legendary journey free from the shackles of the Harry Potter books and movies.
The demo today consisted of about 14 minutes of in-game footage captured from a PlayStation 5 and a few words from the developers at Avalanche Software. You can watch the full State of Play above, but read on for details on what it shows.
Players will start by creating their new Hogwarts student who begins this wizarding adventure in their fifth year, and will need to catch up to the other students in the grade. You’ll choose your house (by sorting hat, of course) and enroll in classes Harry Potter fans are most likely very familiar with. The demo shows Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, and Potions classes, along with some of the eccentric professors teaching the school’s young minds.
Hogwarts is filled with mysteries like dungeons and secret passageways littered around its hallowed halls. Some areas will require a clever mind and some the right magical touch to unveil the secrets hidden within. While Hogwarts Legacy takes place over 100 years before the Potter novels, some characters like the long-dead spirit Nearly-headless Nick can be found roaming the halls.
Players will meet new friends in their time at Hogwarts, some of which will become companions. You’ll learn all about these characters’ backstories and embark on quests that relate to their lives. One such student is Sebastian Sallow, a Slytherin with a “troubling family past.”
It’s not all magical classes and friendship in Hogwarts Legacy. There are rumors going around the Wizarding World of a goblin rebellion that your student will somehow get tied up in. The footage shows plenty of spell-slinging against sinister witches and wizards, goblins, and other magical enemies.
Some spells highlighted in the presentation include stunning charms, shield charms, and more damaging incantations such as the fiery Incendio or gravity-inducing Descendo. Knowing a restorative spell like repairo can rebuild destroyed bridges and other structures. The narrator pointed out players will even learn to use magic the school’s talented professors don’t understand.
Characters can be upgraded through a talents and abilities system, using experience gained from challenges around the world. Further customization and improvement will come from gear looted from adventures or purchased with your hard-earned Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts. Potions can also be used in combat to boost power or defense. Plants can act as battle pets providing strength in numbers, or if all else fails, stun with an unbearable shriek of a mandrake.
To brew and cultivate to your heart’s desire, the Room of Requirements is open for use. Since the player’s student is starting fresh in year five, the room provides the equipment needed to perform the aforementioned catching up like brewing stations and gardening tools. It’ll be the go-to spot to craft the mystical tools at your disposal.
We caught a short clip of broom riding that lets you fly around the open world and explore the grounds outside of Hogwarts castle. You could travel to places like Hogsmede, which houses shops and vendors for gear or crafting materials, or visit unique wizarding hamlets that pepper the countryside and talk to the resident magical folk who reside there. Magical beasts can be found and rescued, and even more dungeons and vaults can be delved into for rewards and additional adventure.
Hogwarts Legacy is set to release this year on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, but the State of Play, unfortunately, didn’t provide a much-anticipated release date. However, it did narrow it down to a holiday timeframe.