The upcoming Avalanche Software-developed title Hogwarts Legacy looks set to bring players to the magical world of Harry Potter, embarking on a year at the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The books and films from which the game is based allowed the Harry Potter universe to become one of the most beloved fictional franchises in decades, and the impressive lore that littered every cinematic release is something that fans are finding comfort and excitement in even after all these years.
Hogwarts Legacy is the first taste of the Harry Potter license on home consoles since the augmented reality-focused Book of Potions in 2013. A somewhat well-known Lego spin-off has seen success, though with a similar gameplay loop as other titles in the franchise, it didn't effectively quench the long-standing thirst for something more open-ended. Hogwarts Legacy has shown signs that it could be the game that many have been fantasizing about for years, allowing players to explore the castle, its kooky teachers, and intriguing inhabitants. Although magic is a critical feature throughout the series, the impressive score that flows through each of the eight films will, surely, be far more important to the upcoming game's tone, setting, and presentation.
A Score To Remember and Spells to Make Players Forget
From the iconic and orchestral Hedwig's Theme to the soothing notes of Fluffy's Harp, each theatrical release in the esteemed Harry Potter franchise is draped in some of the finest, most atmospheric music ever put to screen. Whole scenes are defined, not just by what's happening throughout the story, but which piece is playing in the background. Fans may debate which Harry Potter film is best, and the characters that they enjoy the most, but one of the few universally understood things about the magical franchise is that the music on display never dips in quality.
It's a common theme throughout, and judging by the 14-minute gameplay trailer shown off at a recent State of Play, Hogwarts Legacy looks to maintain the mesmerizing music composition that the series has become known for. Also featured in the Hogwarts Legacy presentation are a number of impressive spells, which bring battles to life and will surely make up much of the game's combat mechanics. Expelliarmus, Incendio, Reparo, and even Avada Kedavra, one of the three unforgivable curses, make an appearance. Each are also present in the lore of the films and books, but leaning too heavily into them for a significant chunk of the game's time would likely result in an experience that feels far too combat-heavy to be a credible game in the wondrous Potter world. Regardles, the music accompanying the battles players engage in will be crucial.
In an Open World, Music Is Critical
The success of the Harry Potter films is dependent on a few critical elements. Character development remains imperative, even with the recent Fantastic Beasts spin-off series, stellar storytelling keeps each new entry feeling like a crucial breadcrumb on the trail to Lord Voldemort's demise, and a captivating score makes the former feel all the more immersive. Being open world in design, with locations like Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, and the Whomping Willow, it's likely that players will spend more time in Hogwarts Legacy than the almost 20-hours it takes to see each and every film through to the end credits. In that case, immersion is of paramount importance, and gallivanting across the gorgeous landscape without the atmosphere that a suitable music score can bring would make the world feel decidedly more drab.
Titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would be greatly hindered if their music wasn't as strong as can be, despite both wielding a different approach with their audio design. The former is more passive, fleeting, and atmospheric music, whereas the latter is a smorgasbord of eclectic arrangements, with each piece of music as iconic as the last. Exploring the setting and picking up side activities are surely some of the most exciting things about Hogwarts Legacy for players. While waving a wand to dispatch enemies is important, it likely won't make up as much of the experience as finding things to do in the sprawling open world.
Dueling has been revealed for Hogwarts Legacy and looks to introduce something unique to the mix while also remaining faithful to the Harry Potter franchise, but in a world where anything is possible, having an effective music score to complement the freedom is surely of higher importance than a few spectacular magic tricks.
Hogwarts Legacy launches Holiday 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.