Hogwarts Legacy Shows Off Open World and Broom Flight in Gameplay Showcase

An open-world game lives or dies off its open world and, based on what the second gameplay showcase for Hogwarts Legacy demonstrated, Hogwarts Legacy looks ready to thrive. The team doing the showcase took the opportunity to show off the detailed, beautiful, dense landscape surrounding Hogwarts.

After showing off a beautiful vista, the showcase team summoned a broom and took to the skies (well, if skies mean “just above the ground”; more on that later). The broom zoomed along, quickly and smoothly making its way over some gorgeous trails and fields. As it did, the team pointed out that the broom maintained a relatively low altitude, and that going above that altitude rapidly depleted a yellow bar at the bottom of the screen, designed to limit how long players can maintain top speed while above that altitude. The given reason for this was so that players would see and encounter all the things on the ground, rather than fly over them and miss them.

After a scenic flight, the team landed in a “hamlet”, one of many small settlements dotted around the landscape. In addition to being a lively place, featuring NPCs going about their business and doing interesting things, the hamlet was also filled with icons and markers. These icons, according to the team, mark locations where you can engage in various tasks and activities. From the looks of it, there is quite a variety of these activities throughout the landscape, with a higher density of them in hamlets. The team promises that these hamlets, and the activities associated with them, will not only reward the player with gear and loot, but also inform them of the relationships, history, and society of these small villages.

hamlet npcs hogwarts legacy open world showcase
Hamlets are vibrant and full of things to do

Leaving the hamlet, the team then showcased a more impressive kind of flight than before: they pulled a hippogriff from a bag and rode it. The Onyx Hippogriff, a pre-order bonus with the digital deluxe edition, began by trodding along the ground, demonstrating that the flying creature is also capable of being used like a more traditional, ground-based mount. Before long, though, it was soaring above the landscape. The hippogriff was able to go higher than the broom, and without any yellow bar limiting its height, and it was faster. It seems that the flying mounts are the premier way to traverse the world quickly in Hogwarts Legacy, though it does leave us wondering who would still use a broom when these faster, more versatile, cooler mounts are available. Also worth noting is the Thestral later in the video, which appears to be a similar flying mount.

The rest of the begining segment of the showcase was spent atop the Hippogriff as it flew above some more gorgeous and foreboding landscapes, each a different flavor of “rustic.” After gliding over a swamp and a windmill, the team used some “dev magic” to show what the landscape looks like during winter, when everything has been transformed to be snow-covered and less vibrant. The team then goes on to explain that the changing of seasons will happen over the course of the narrative, which takes place over the course of a year at Hogwarts. They then stress that the changing seasons, which is tied to the narrative, is separate from the day/night cycle, which will happen automatically regardless of story progress.

Overall, the open world for Hogwarts Legacy is looking excellent. Richly detailed, dense without seeming distracting, with great traversal options and at least some changes over time. While much remains to be seen as to how this rich world fits into other parts of the game, like the story and progression, what we were shown here is very promising, and it has us really looking forward to Hogwarts Legacy’s release on February 10th (for current-gen consoles and PC).

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Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he'll try. When he isn't working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.

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