Hogwarts Legacy picks up zero nominations at The Game Awards 2023

A student raises a wand in a Hogwarts wand shop.

Hogwarts Legacy has not received a single nomination in any category at The Game Awards 2023, despite earning overwhelmingly positive reviews from players and critics alike.

The nominees for this year’s Game Awards were announced on Monday (14 November) with games like Spider-Man 2, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder among the top titles.

However, Hogwarts Legacy, the best-selling new video game of the year, didn’t get a single mention.

A screenshot of the game Hogwarts Legacy, where a player holds up their wand.
Hogwarts Legacy has received rave reviews from players – but plenty of criticism too. (Warner Bros)

The spin-off game sees players control a student at Hogwarts – a cornerstone of Rowling’s wizarding world – in the 1800s, in a large open world complete with magical beasts and spells.

The game, which dropped back in February, has seen success across PC, PS4 and PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One, might not have been worthy of Game of the Year, but it was even snubbed in smaller categories like Best Audio Design and Best Score & Music.

One theory as to why the popular game might not be reaping the nominations is the controversy that surrounds Hogwarts Legacy – and the Harry Potter franchise in general – thanks to its association with J.K. Rowling. 

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Upon the game’s release, LGBTQ+ activists and gamers pledged to boycott Hogwarts Legacy, arguing that buying and playing it would further support Rowling, who is often criticised for her views on the transgender community.

Avalanche Software – who previously worked on the Disney Infinity series – had attempted to rebuild bridges with the trans community by announcing that Rowling would have little creative control over the project, but for many, it was too little too late.

A screenshot of a Hogwarts student flying on a mystical creature in Hogwarts Legacy.
LGBTQ+ activists boycotted Hogwarts Legacy. (Warner Bros)

Additionally, it was revealed that developers on the Avalanche Software team had pushed hard to allow players to create transgender characters and interact with transgender witch Sirona Ryan, who appears as a barkeeper in the local tavern The Three Broomsticks.

However, that didn’t go down among LGBTQ+ gamers either, with some telling PinkNews at the time that it felt “insincere” and like a way to “shut trans people up.” 

Others pointed out that the character’s name even contained the honorific “sir”, which felt similar to other controversial names in the Harry Potter universe like Cho Chang and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

In response to the boycott, Avalanche Software game director Alan Tew said in an interview with IGN that he and the development team wanted all Harry Potter fans to feel “welcomed back” to the series.

“We know our fans fell in love with the wizarding world, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons,” he had said.

A screenshot from Hogwarts Legacy video game showing trans character Sirona Ryan wearing a white shirt and brown waistcoat
The trans character’s inclusion has felt a bit too ‘insincere’ for LGBTQ+ gamers. (Warner Bros)

“For us, it’s making sure that the audience, who always dreamed of having this game, had the opportunity to feel welcomed back, that they have a home here, and that it’s a good place to tell their story.”

While there’s every chance that Hogwarts Legacy didn’t make the cut for The Game Awards 2023 because there were simply too many high-quality titles to choose from this year, there’s also a high likelihood that this game is just too controversial to include in the line-up and it would be easier to steer clear altogether.