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New Harry Potter video game will allow users to create transgender characters

New Harry Potter video game will allow users to create transgender characters
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An upcoming "Harry Potter" video game will reportedly give users the option to alter a character’s gender identity and customize physical characteristics.

The effort to promote inclusivity follows comments made by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling that have been criticized as transphobic. 

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that people familiar with the game’s development said that the new features will be available in Hogwarts Legacy, which is scheduled for a 2022 release. The game is being published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc. and developed by Avalanche Software. 

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The sources, who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said video game users will be able to alter a character’s voice to either masculine or feminine, regardless of what the person’s body looks like. 

Players will also be able to select if their character is addressed as “witch” or “wizard,” which will also determine the dorm in which they are placed. 

While these features have already been adopted by other popular video games, the people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that many of the developers on the game pushed to make the Hogwarts Legacy game more inclusive, given the controversies surrounding the popular book series’ author. 

The people told the news outlet that while there was pushback from management over the new features, the character customization features are set to be included in the game upon its release next year. 

When contacted by The Hill, a Warner Bros. spokesperson said the company did not have any comment on the matter. 

Rowling has faced continued criticism over multiple comments that people have characterized as transphobic. In December 2019, the author promoted a researcher fired for what a judge said was an "absolutist" view of transgender people and gender.

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The British author faced renewed backlash last summer from gay and transgender rights organizations after she tweeted that a headline reading “people who menstruate” should be changed to just "women."

"I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?" she wrote.

Despite criticism over the comments, Rowling doubled down on her remarks in an essay released days later on her website in which she said she was reacting to "degrading language" against women and claimed “huge numbers of women are justifiably terrified by the trans activists.” 

In September, Rowling was again condemned on social media over her release of a book about a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to kill his victims.

--Updated at 2:22 p.m.