It has now been confirmed that Sony is holding a PlayStation 5 State of Play event dedicated to Hogwarts Legacy. Taking place on Thursday, March 17 at 2 PM PT / 5 PM ET / 10 PM CET, the event is set show 14 minutes of actual Hogwarts Legacy gameplay that has been captured on PS5.
Hogwarts Legacy, for the uninitiated is basically a Harry Potter simulator where, so the promise goes, you create and then play as a student at the famous school for witchcraft and wizardry.
We've had Harry Potter games to date, but none of them have offered the sort of experience fans of the fiction really want, and that was largely down to the technical limitations of the consoles they were made for at the time and the vision of the game maker.
With the power of the PS5 on tap, though, as well as years in development to craft a detailed in-game world, Hogwarts Legacy I hope will buck that trend and deliver the immersive, open-world experience fans really want.
Here's my personal top 5 feature wish list for Hogwarts Legacy.
1. Detailed character creation with meaningful stats
I will be very disappointed if Hogwarts Legacy comes with a basic character creator. I'm used to the level of awesome delivered by character creators such as that in Cyberpunk 2077 and that's what I ideally want. After all, if I'm going to spend tens if not hundreds of hours role playing a character, then I want them to look, speak and perform as I ideally want. I absolutely don't just want to choose from a selection of basic pre-made characters.
For example, I absolutely need to see an improvement over the very basic character creator used in Portkey Games' other major Wizarding World title, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, which featured a very basic creator with limited options. There's also zero stats built into that creator either for each character, so for Hogwarts Legacy I like the idea of including some.
The more I customise my character the more invested I am out of the gate. Simple.
2. A Persona-style character development/stats system
In terms of character development in the game I think it would be neat if Hogwarts Legacy borrowed from the long-running and super popular Persona video game series. I mean, those games are literally set around an annual school calendar, and see the player progress their stats by practicing disciplines or completing activities that nurtures skills.
The Persona system also rewards players with stat bumps for answering questions correctly in class, and that would literally port over to Hogwarts Legacy seamlessly. Have the potions master deliver a lesson then, at the end, ask the player a question based on it – if they answer correctly they get a stat bump to their knowledge stat or potion making ability.
While, say, if the gamer spends their free time practicing flying their broomstick then that means they're more proficient with it. This in turn could have gameplay consequences such as when playing Quidditch or what position they play on their house team, as well as an effect on story moments.
3. Meaningful RPG decisions with genuine consequences
And, talking of actions have genuine in-game consequences, if this truly is an RPG then let's have consistent and meaningful role playing interactions with other characters, both tied to the story and not.
Again, taking the Persona series as a model, if you spend more time hanging out and talking with a certain person you build trust, which in turn unlocks new story options and gameplay mechanics. There are literally things you cannot do unless you've made certain decisions.
Many of the moments spent talking to and undertaking activities with other characters in Persona games are some of the most emotional and immersive, too, so this would really help flesh out NPCs and build stories that work around the central narrative if used in Hogwarts Legacy.
Equally, it would be good if the player's choices are tied to some sort of morality/motivation system that is tied to the other characters within the game, and certain missions or story beats can be picked up or bypassed depending on the choices the character makes.
The more Hogwarts Legacy can move away from its railroaded main story line with these extra systems the greater the illusion of choice will be and the more immersive as a result. If no decision I make really matters, I simply won't be invested.
4. Next-gen performance features and modes
While I don't think Hogwarts Legacy is going to be a graphical juggernaut that changes gaming graphics forever, I do really hope the game ships on PS5 and Xbox Series X with some modern graphical features, such as real time ray tracing, as well as proper performance modes. It would be amazing if Hogwarts Legacy could run at 120fps for example, or actually make good on that promise on the PS5 box and be runnable at an 8K resolution.
For me, though, frame rate and graphical effects are much more important than straight out resolution. Most gamers today will have 4K TVs with some sort of upscaling tech built in, so if Portkey Games could focus on delivering a buttery smooth, well lit game, the console and TV hardware will do the rest. The idea of creeping through, say, the Forbidden Forest and having rays of moonlight cascading down through the branches sounds awesome to me.
I also want the game to basically operate without loading screens, as both the PS5 SSD and that of the Xbox Series X are so fast that a continuous, seamless world should be possible. Again, this helps maintain the immersion. For example, I love the idea that I could wake up in my Hogwarts house dormitory, before proceeding to the Great Hall for breakfast and then onto my first lesson of the day without a single loading screen.
5. A multiplayer element for socialising
And, lastly, while I certainly don't particularly care about actually playing with or against other people in Hogwarts Legacy, such as squaring off against them in a Quidditch match for example, it would be good to have parts of the game where players could meet up to chat, socialise and help each other.
You could have social areas, say, in the Great Hall, house dorm rooms or down in Hogsmeade or at the Leaky Cauldron, which operate as instanced socialising areas. You could have daily, weekly or monthly events at these areas, too, that every player could attend and enjoy, fostering that sense of shared immersion.
How confident am I for Hogwarts Legacy?
That's a really good question and right now I am definitely more hype than genuine hope. There has been next to no detailed information about this game released to date and the only images and trailers we've had don't confirm or deny any of my most hoped for features.
I think realistically we'll see some of these features offered in Hogwarts Legacy, but whether or not it will be at launch (which is rumored for this year in 2022) or down the line remains to be seen. Fingers crossed then that we hear something concrete about Hogwarts Legacy on PS5 or Xbox Series X sooner rather than later.