Hogwarts Legacy State of Play Shows Off Gameplay, Gives Release Window

We got our first look at Hogwarts Legacy’s gameplay today, courtesy of Sony’s State of Play. Considering the absolute lack of information before today, it’s an almost overwhelming amount of new details about the game — we’ll do our best in the following paragraphs to give a brief summary of all the key points. Before we do that, however, we’ll answer the question most die-hard fans have been asking since the game was first announced: Yes, you will attend classes in Hogwarts Legacy.

Today’s State of Play revealed that the game is now slated to release Holiday 2022, which makes a December release likely (although November isn’t out of the question). Given the very complete-looking build we saw today, it does seem possible that there will be no more delays. Regardless, given how publishers generally want to take advantage of the holiday shopping season, even if the game wasn’t ready they’d probably still release it anyway in time for Christmas.

The Story Thus Far

From the early promotional materials, we already knew that your character in Hogwarts Legacy had some special affinity with an ancient and mysterious magic. Today’s gameplay reveal gave us a bit more info about the plot: there are apparently goblins and dark wizards in an alliance — what their goals are is still unclear, but it’s almost certainly linked to the ancient magic the plot revolves around. You’ll work alongside Professor Fig to discover if the rumors of a goblin rebellion are true, and how they might affect Hogwarts. There are apparently creatures around Hogwarts corrupted by some kind of dark magic, which is also very likely linked to ancient magic you can control.

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Gee, I wonder if he’s a bad guy…

Combat looks to have lots of flexibility — you’ll be able to cast a number of spells, ranging from simple blasting spells to stunning and shield charms. It appears as though there are spell combos; although it was hard to tell from the footage, “combos” are mentioned, and it seems that some spells may be combinable. At a minimum, you can probably gain different effects by chaining certain spells with specific follow-ups. The combat looks fast-paced and colorful, and there’s a dodge roll as well as the block charm. You can also use plants in combat, releasing plants (or their spores) to distract or incapacitate enemies. There didn’t seem to be any HUD elements like a health or stamina bar — it’s possible these were simply disabled for the reveal, but it’s also possible that our character is more like Nathan Drake from Uncharted, and doesn’t even have a health bar.

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Name that spell!

Much to the excitement of everyone who’s dreamed of attending Hogwarts, you will indeed be attending classes in Hogwarts Legacy. They will almost certainly serve as introductions to game mechanics, as well as a way to get to know your fellow classmates — some of whom can become companions! Three characters were revealed to be possible companions that can accompany you on your adventures. When you’re not in class, there’s the entire castle of Hogwarts to explore. It looks to be full of secrets and puzzles, and is crafted with such obvious attention to detail that you’ll be able to spend hours just wandering around, taking in the sights.

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Defense Against the Dark Arts, AKA “The class where someone always ends up on the floor”

The exploration continues outside the grounds, with what looks to be a respectably large area outside of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade you can adventure through. There are numerous small wizard hamlets in the area that offer various quests and/or vendors. There are dungeons filled with skeletons and loot, forests containing beasts to be slain or saved, and mysteries to uncover. You’ll get to do this exploring on a broomstick, although there didn’t appear to be any sign of Quidditch in today’s State of Play.

When you aren’t blasting bad wizards, attending class, or exploring, there’s still plenty to do. The Room of Requirement will play a large role in the game, allowing you to do, well, whatever you need! The room will let you craft potions, sow and harvest plants, and upgrade your gear. It even offers a magical vivarium — really a pocket world — that you can customize and use to care for magical creatures. When the Room of Requirement doesn’t have what you need, you’ll be able to head into Hogsmeade and shop at a variety of vendors who offer ingredients, potions, and gear.

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The vivarium has a whole lot of space in it

It was hard to get a good sense of the RPG mechanics from the State of Play, but there were some tidbits sprinkled throughout. There’s a talents and skills page where you can spend experience points to upgrade your skills, or your plants/spells/potions. Apparently, you earn these points by doing challenges rather than in combat. You’ll also be able to do a fair bit of character customization, although it appears the base model for your character’s face stays the same no matter what.

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Looks like you won’t be able to put your own likeness in Hogwarts just yet

There’s a lot more to be gleaned from the footage we saw today, but we promised we’d keep this article brief. With any luck, there will be more new information about Hogwarts Legacy in the months leading up to release, so watch this space!

Did today’s footage get you hyped? Are you happy or bummed that you’ll have to spend time in classes? Let us know in the comments!

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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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