Hogwarts Legacy is Keeping Something Big Under Wraps, and it Relates to the Dark Arts

Hogwarts Legacy is a month away from release, and yet we actually know quite a lot about the game. Thanks to two gameplay showcases (with the possibility of one more on the way), a slew of trailers, developer interviews, and quite a few promotional tweets, we have a good idea of what most everything will look like, from combat to quests to exploration. This is a great sign for the game, and is refreshing at a time when so many triple-A releases have much less transparency about their production. However, there is one area where we’ve seen relatively little promotional material, and that is the story.

We can piece some things together from gameplay mechanics and what we’ve been told. Directly, the developers have spoken about a goblin rebellion, poachers hunting nearby wildlife, and an “ancient secret” that the player may or may not be in possession of. That’s it.

hogwarts legacy goblin rebellion

Indirectly, we can surmise that saving that aforementioned wildlife will factor into the story, given the presence of the “Bavarium” room where the player can keep rescued beasts. We can also speculate about how various revealed characters and quests may play into the story, but much of that is likely to be side content, and would be guesswork at best.

In short, we know surprisingly little about what the story for Hogwarts Legacy will actually be, given how much else we do know. Especially considering that the game is part of a franchise started by one of the most successful literary series ever, and the tendency for most modern games to highlight their story, this is unusual.

The peculiarity is increased when we consider some other sources. For instance, the Wizarding World website, once called Pottermore until it formed a direct partnership with Warner Bros. (the publishers of most content related to the franchise), recently posted an FAQ about the game. This is a website that should have an in to deliver exclusive news, given that they are under the same umbrella as the team behind the game and even have official tie-in content with the game. If any source outside of the development team itself would know about the game, it would be the Wizarding World.

And yet, when we look at the FAQ, we see that the Wizarding World seemingly has access to the same information as anyone else. All the questions they answer on the FAQ use information they could’ve gleaned from public releases, and each answer contains a lot of words and phrases like “the game promises…” or a citation of one of the gameplay showcases. The only exceptions to this, where the Wizarding World seems to have any exclusive knowledge, is about how having a Wizarding World account will tie into game, giving you access to exclusive goodies like “a House Fan-Atic School Robe alongside a Beaked Skull Mask.” And even that is months-old news.

hogwarts legacy what is wizarding world digital
“Delivering official updates and products from the Wizarding World and its partners,” so long as that doesn’t require exclusive knowledge about the upcoming, triple-A game set in the wizarding world.

In short, it seems that the Wizarding World team, in charge of the main, public-facing website related to Harry Potter content, is as in-the-dark as we are when it comes to some parts of the game, most notably the story. In fact, when we read their answer to the question “What is the main plot of Hogwarts Legacy?”, they give an awfully vague answer:

“Well, as the title suggests, your legacy is what you make it, but there are indeed many fascinating storylines running through the game for you to discover. So far, we know that you are a fifth year Hogwarts student who may hold the secret to an “ancient secret” that threatens the wizarding world. We’ve also seen a few sub-plots mentioned in the game, such as reference to the Goblin Rebellions and a number of characters with their own secrets.”

That, in addition to being information we’ve been privy to for months, is the most vague answer in the entire FAQ, and for good reason; we know nothing about what the main plot will be for Hogwarts Legacy, and neither does the Wizarding World.

So, what does this mean? Is this a sign to panic, to assume that the reason the writing isn’t being discussed or shown off must be that the developers aren’t very proud of it?

I find that unlikely. What is more likely, however, is that the main plot must fundamentally alter what we know about the wizarding world (the fictional world that the story takes place in, not the Warner-Bros.-associated fan site). One of the few things we do know about the plot is that it involves an “ancient secret” which poses an existential threat to wizardkind, though we do not know what that secret is. Is it possible that, whatever it is, it is so critical to the main plot that any mention of that plot would have to spoil the secret? And so, to prevent the reveal of that secret, which the developers would like to surprise players when they play, they have elected to show off as little of the actual story of the game as possible, instead focusing on gameplay features, worldbuilding, and side content?

hogwarts legacy undead ancient secret

I think that is very, very possible.

Of course, that leaves on very, very important question: what actually is the “ancient secret”? And, if it is such an important secret, why would it be revealed so early in the actual plot so as to make any mention of the plot susceptible to exposing it?

Well, while there are several possibilities for what this could be, there is one that stands out: we speculate that the protagonist of the game will be another “chosen one” whose “chosen one prophecy” must change some core part of the wizarding world, probably relating to dark magic.

This makes sense on several levels. First of all, for those scoffing at the idea of “chosen ones” and “prophecies,” for as tired a trope they are, a similar prophecy was what motivated the main plot of the original Harry Potter story, and there is a huge precedent for such prophecies in the franchise.

Secondly, a reveal like this would allow this story, which serves as a prequel to both Harry Potter and The Fantastic Beasts, to have importance and meaning, even though we know some outcomes going in (after all, it isn’t like Hogwarts will be destroyed). A story like this, featuring new information about the dark arts and other prophecies, might not be able to change anything from the original books and movies, but it can certainly recontextualize it, and the dark arts are some of the most mysterious, unexplained parts of wizarding world lore.

hogwarts legacy defense against the dark arts duel
Given how important the dark arts are to the franchise, being a central focus of every book, new information about them could be world-changing.

Finally, we know that the player character will be able to dabble in the dark arts, using spells up to and including Avada Kedavra, the killing curse, in order to dispatch enemies. This stands in contrast to most of the series, where the heroes of the stories never use dark magic, no matter the circumstances, and indicates that the “your legacy is what you make it” tagline might be more than just a nice-sounding slogan. If your character’s use of the dark arts is fundamental to the game, it is very possible that whatever happens with them in the game will act as a lead-in for what would come later, namely the rise of Voldemort.

All this leads to one conclusion: the main plot is very likely being kept under wraps because it involves the player character’s involvement with the dark arts, which will serve as a precursor for Voldemort. Whatever the nature of the connection between the player character and those dark arts is unknown, as is whether there will be new information about the origins of those dark arts, but whatever is going to be revealed will almost certainly be huge, recontextualizing a lot of what we know about the wizarding world. Or, at least, the developers seem to think this will be the case, hence why they’ve been so hush-hush about the story when they’ve been so generous with all other information.

What do you think, though? Do you think we are on the money, or do you have your own theories as to what Portkey Games’ silence on the main plot means for the story of Hogwarts Legacy? Either way, we will find out soon, when the game releases on February 10th to PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation5.

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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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