(OSV News) – “Hogwarts Legacy” (Warner Bros.), the latest addition to the expansive “Harry Potter” franchise, takes its audience to school in the 1890s. Regrettably, one of the lessons players may learn there is to perpetuate a heritage of hate.
Thus, while the visual content of the game, including its depiction of combat, is acceptable for teens and adults, elements of its narrative are far more troubling.
The character controlled by the gamer may be either a male (voice of Sebastian Croft) or female (voice of Amelia Gethin) student at a Victorian-era version of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Either way, players possess an ancient form of magic that potentially puts them at odds with a goblin named Ranrok who aspires to obtain and use similar mystical abilities for his own evil ends.
With the advent of Ranrok, disturbingly anti-Semitic tropes become apparent in the story. Although goblins were not originally identified with Jews in folklore, such a connection was made in 19th century literature.
As depicted here, goblins are small, greedy, hook-nosed creatures who use the blood of kidnapped children in their wicked rituals. Anyone familiar with the grim history of anti-Semitism, dating back to the Middle Ages, will immediately recognize the link with that blighted inheritance. Within the game, moreover, artifacts belonging to Goblins bear a striking similarity to real-life Judaica.
Ranrok is the leader of a Goblin rebellion. This uprising is shown to be in some senses justified since Goblins are discriminated against, excluded from political power, enslaved and even massacred. Yet gamers who ally themselves with Ranrok are branded as Dark Wizards, meaning those who use their supernatural powers for malign ends, even including murder.
All this is as gratuitous as it is inexcusable. As a result of this irresponsible dalliance with bigotry, a title that might otherwise be endorsed for a fairly broad audience cannot be recommended for players of any age.
Playable on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series and Windows.
The game contains spiritually dangerous characterizations, mostly stylized combat violence with some blood effects and occasional crass language. The OSV News classification is O – morally offensive. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is T – Teens.