A lot of times we hear the argument that History accuracy games are essential for it to be authentic. This talking point is as old as time and has recently been brought up again in regard to Hogwarts Legacy.
So once again Hogwarts Legacy is in the public’s tongue, however, this time it seems it no longer pertains to transgenderism or JK Rowling. Instead, the topic of discussion revolves around how Hogwarts Legacy had more representation in 1890-1891 than it did in the films, which were based in the 90s. Not to mention that many have argued that since Hogwarts is not only set in 1890, the fact that it’s based in Great Britain, should dictate the level of racial identity represented in the game.
It’s a fair argument to be made for sure. Britain at the time would likely have a more substantial Anglo population, and thus tipped the scale to have more White wizards and witches attending the school. However, the reality is, this is the will of the creator. Considering that Hogwarts is a fictional school, with fictional requirements to be accepted in the school, one could make the argument that the magical school hand-selected students of different backgrounds to attend the esteemed school.
There’s also the fact that South Asians have been migrating to the UK since the mid-17th century so, it’s not like there aren’t any South Asians in the UK who could have magical aptitude. Moreso, to use the movies as a reference was ill-advised, as even the movies took some creative liberties in making some changes. The fact of the matter is Hogwarts Legacy is a game made by a team called Avalanche Studios in a modern era that respects not only the source material but the fanbase as well. With the permission granted to them, they made a game that captured the essence of the world of Harry Potter, while taking some creative liberties. Of course, saying that I am not implying that all works of fiction are automatically obligated to be diverse. It falls on the creator of an IP to determine just how diverse they want their world to be. A case example is Final Fantasy 16.
Director Hiroshi Takai and Creative Director Kazutoyo Maehiro were in hot waters when fans accused them of not having a diverse cast in their upcoming latest game. However, Both Hiroshi and Takai stood firm in their choice to paint their historical accuracy world of Valisthea, in which that world is heavily influenced by Medieval Europe. Producer Naoki Yoshida argued that
“Our design concept from the earliest stages of development has always heavily featured medieval Europe, incorporating historical, cultural, political, and anthropological standards that were prevalent at the time,’ Yoshida said. ‘Ultimately, we felt that while incorporating ethnic diversity into Valisthea was important, an over-incorporation into this single corner of a much larger world could end up causing a violation of those narrative boundaries we originally set for ourselves. The story we are telling is fantasy, yes, but it is also rooted in reality.”Producer Naoki Yoshida
Just as the team behind Hogwarts Legacy chose to be lenient with its interpretation of 1800’s Great Britain in terms of diversity, so too has Square Enix chosen to be firmer with how they approach diversity. Neither is wrong with their approach. It is up to the creator of any fictional world or universe to determine the rules of their own creation, regardless of how diverse the fanbase may be. Look at how natural the characters in Hogwarts are and how seamlessly they fit in the world. This is how diversity should be handled, with care and love, not shoe-horned in to check off a list.
Although it is true that more often than not, those to cry for historical accuracy are usually the ones that don’t like the idea of seeing a diverse cast in “their” game, there’s still nothing wrong to call it out, especially if the game developers have marketed the game as a piece of media which focuses on historical accuracy. It’s also important to understand that, despite how harsh this sounds, you aren’t owed diversity either. If a creator wants to create a world with nothing but, I don’t know, blue people, it’s his/her choice, and as such you have a choice as to whether you will consume said content or not.
Overall, more and more games are starting to have great options for diversity in their games, from character creation options, well, having more options to games like Hogwarts and Horizon Zero Dawn, however, you should also expect games like Kingdown of Deliverance to come into the picture. And hey, if the big studios aren’t giving you what you want, try the indie space.