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What You Need to Know Before You Play Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy has already sold over 12 million copies. What are you waiting for?

Meara Isenberg Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Meara Isenberg
3 min read
hogwarts legacy

Students duel in a Hogwarts Legacy gameplay video.

Warner Bros. Games/Screenshot by Meara Isenberg/CNET

Hogwarts Legacy is now available, allowing wizarding fans the chance to shape their own magical fantasy. The open-world roleplaying game is set in the Harry Potter universe, and it seems like the game that many fans of the books have long hoped for.

The game from developer Avalanche Software lets players experience the famed school of witchcraft and wizardry as a student in the 1800s, before the events of the Harry Potter books. Here are some basic things to know about Hogwarts Legacy, including when you can snag a copy depending on your platform.

What's the story?

Hogwarts Legacy players will "embark on a dangerous journey to uncover a hidden truth of the wizarding world," according to the game's website. You can explore Hogwarts Castle, where you attend classes. You can also go beyond it to new and familiar locations, per the website.

You can customize your character, choose a Hogwarts house and grow your magical abilities by brewing potions, mastering spells and taming beasts. Hogwarts Legacy sticks to the lore but doesn't adapt the Harry Potter books and films.

What systems can I play Hogwarts Legacy on?

PS5Xbox Series X and S, and PC versions of the game launched on Feb. 10. The release date for the PS4 and Xbox One versions has been pushed back to May 5. 

Nintendo Switch users will have to hang on even longer, until July 25, to play Hogwarts Legacy.

The game was first announced in 2020, and its release dates have changed multiple times. It's published by Warner Bros. Games under its Portkey Games label.

Is there early access?

The Deluxe Edition or Digital Deluxe Edition for PS5, Xbox Series X and S, and PC included 72 hours of early access, starting Feb. 7.

The PS4 and Xbox One versions won't have an early access period.

Where can I buy Hogwarts Legacy?

If you're interested in the Standard Edition, you can buy the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S versions from stores, including GameStop, Amazon and Best Buy for $70 (£65, AU$99). You can preorder the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions from those stores for $60 (£60, $AU85). The PC version is available for $60 at Steam and the Epic Games store

You can view more ways to purchase Hogwarts Legacy (including how to buy the Deluxe Edition) on the game's website. The Collector's Edition has already sold out, but you may be able to find it online for a markup. The official site breaks down what comes with each edition.

What are critics saying?

The game has a Metacritic score of 84 on PS5. (The score is higher on Xbox Series X and S, and a bit lower on PC, but the PS5 score is based on the most reviews, 93.)

Sean Keane played the PS5 version and writes in a positive review for CNET that "it captures the wonder of the early books, with an intriguing original narrative, engagingly varied gameplay and intricately designed world to explore."

J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy

The game's connection to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has led her critics to call for a boycott, as The Week explains. Over the past few years, Rowling has repeatedly made comments that mocked transgender individuals and infuriated trans advocates.

The Hogwarts Legacy website notes that Rowling isn't involved in the creation of Hogwarts Legacy. But her writing is the foundation for the project and she still makes money off of sales. 

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