However, in order for Hogwarts Legacy to be truly special and make all of its ambitious features as meaningful as the next, certain steps should be taken first to immerse players wholly. For example, players will surely have a heavier course load than other students due to the fact that the player-character is a late-entry fifth year student. Narratively this makes sense, but it should also have a significant impact on gameplay throughout Hogwarts Legacy’s school year by influencing how exploration and other activities are micromanaged.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will most likely not be completely open for players to explore when the game begins, and that is a good thing. The castle should hopefully have a myriad of secret passageways obscured or hidden by magic, and its dungeons and grounds should be no different. Environmental puzzles rife with creative comprehension would make exploration fruitful and gratifying in the open-world, but Hogwarts Legacy should open exploration and puzzles up further by rewarding players for attending classes and learning spells.
Some classes in Hogwarts Legacy will undoubtedly harken back to Harry Potter’s classic courses. Defense Against the Dark Arts’ spells may impart upon players the foundations for extensive combat in wand-based duels. Transfiguration may teach students how to transform mundane, inanimate objects into animals. There is a plethora of content that could be derived from such classes involved in established lore, yet there is also the potential for new classes imagined for Hogwarts Legacy that are unfamiliar to fans of Harry Potter lore.
Nonetheless, the spells and wherewithal learned in Hogwarts Legacy’s classes should be crucial for players’ exploration and puzzle solving in the open-world. If players were to come across an obstruction blocking a desired path, for example, then a Charms class could teach players Wingardium Leviosa in order for them to lift it out of the way.
This would play an important part in incentivizing classes so that players are equipped for any obstacles or puzzles that they encounter in their open-world exploration. Alohomora could perceivably be another popular and iconic spell for exploration throughout the castle, as it would allow players to unlock previously locked doors and gain entry to new areas.
Hogwarts Legacy’s gameplay presentation detailed a number of diverse spells players will have access to for combat and puzzles, such as the Summoning Charm Accio used to draw closer a painting’s hidden passage or pull platforms to their desired location for light puzzle platforming. The gameplay presentation also revealed that players can combatively produce a mandrake, whose shriek stuns enemies. As such, it is possible that a mandrake is obtained as a combat item after successfully withdrawing one from a pot in Herbology class.
It would only make sense then that Hogwarts Legacy’s free-roam broomstick flying would be learned during a session similar to Madam Hooch’s lesson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Further, the 2000s game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone grants a subversively simplistic template for the spells that players learn in classes. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — the very same game that spawned polygonal PS1 Hagrid memes — features remarkably elementary classes that revolve around a singular spell learned through a simple QTE mini-game.
Indeed, the rush of learning a new spell in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is only matched by the suspenseful dart to class that players perform. In a timed effort, players as Harry must leap upward along suspended books and bookshelves to reach their intended classroom before its associated professor berates them. This could also be a fun way to have players attend their scheduled classes in Hogwarts Legacy, though the fact that the castle is its own expansive open-world may prove to be enough of a challenge when it comes to traversing it and getting to class.
These learned spells are then used elsewhere thereafter. Hogwarts Legacy’s learned spells will naturally be used afterward as well, but Hogwarts Legacy’s classes will hopefully be much more elaborate. Hogwarts Legacy’s Companion mechanic has not been detailed fully, but it would be interesting to see character relationships impacting what secrets players are able to learn at Hogwarts.
Of course, there are confirmed spells that players are not likely to be willingly taught in class. Harry Potter’s Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra, has been teased as a dark witch or wizard spell players are able to learn. However, they may have to go out of their way to learn such a particularly egregious spell. One fun way of introducing extracurricular and clandestine knowledge in Hogwarts Legacy would be going through the library’s restricted section and afflicting players with detriments or punishments if they are caught by a prefect or caretaker.
This way, once more spells are learned from other classes attended, players could possess more means of stealthy exploration through the restricted section to learn more dark magic intermittently throughout Hogwarts Legacy if they desire. Perhaps close communication with a Slytherin student or an exceptionally rebellious or enigmatic character could also lend entrance to areas that are normally off limits, yet hold access to items and spells that lead to other areas and rewards of the like.
Either way, the castle should be rife with tiny puzzles in the environment that are only accessible through the use of a classroom-learned spell so that players are rewarded for their time spent in class. Classes may well be a mandatory part of Hogwarts Legacy’s narrative progression anyhow, but it would be even greater if some spells were locked behind optional classes for players to attend. Puzzles may be as simple as casting a single spell at something to activate it or open it, but it would provide the most immersive and well-rounded experience for the player as a Hogwarts student.
Hogwarts Legacy is scheduled to release holiday 2022 for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.