Leavitt says WB applied no pressure to him over the situation, but Leavitt made the decision to re-retire this month. Leavitt labelled press coverage of the controversy as feeling like “cancel culture”, thanked those who defended him on YouTube, and announced that he’d like to work in indie development, and will continue work on a fantasy novel series.
Leavitt shared a resignation letter, which says, “I leave with only the warmest of feelings towards both the Avalanche team and the WB organization.” Later in the video, he said he believes “Avalanche is the right studio to make this game,” pointing to its work on licensed IPs, in-house talent, and partnerships.
He also said he appreciates the studio’s player-centric design team, adding that it’s focused on “what’s good for the player, without trying to push any other agendas into the game” – a phrase which appears to tacitly reference the ongoing controversy around Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s transphobic views.Hogwarts Legacy lead designer Troy Leavitt has left developer Avalanche Software and quit the project, following controversy around his YouTube channel.
Update: Leavitt points out in the video discussed above that he has been Hogwarts Legacy’s senior producer since 2019, after beginning the project as lead designer.
Leavitt became the centre of controversy two weeks ago, when journalist Liam Robertson pointed out that the designer had previously uploaded a number of videos in the past that, among other subjects, expressed support for the Gamergate movement and downplayed high-profile cases of sexual harassment.
Leavitt has now explained on Twitter that he has left Avalanche Software, adding that he has “nothing but good things to say about the game, the dev team, and WB Games.” In a follow-up, Leavitt says that he felt “absolutely secure” in his position at Avalanche, but made the choice to resign.
1. I have made the decision to part ways with Avalanche Software. I have nothing but good things to say about the game, the dev team, and WB Games.
2. I will be releasing a YouTube Video about this soon on my channel.
— Troy Leavitt (@Troylus_true) March 5, 2021
Neither Avalanche Software, nor WB Games, have commented on Leavitt’s departure at time of writing. IGN has contacted both for comment.
Hogwarts Legacy – scheduled for release in 2022 – has seen a number of controversies since announcement, primarily centered around J.K. Rowling’s transphobic views. Avalanche has previously explained that Rowling is “not directly involved” with Hogwarts Legacy (although she does earn money from WB’s use of the IP), and a recent report suggested the game will allow for transgender characters to be created by players.WB Interactive president David Haddad previously refused to criticise Rowling, saying that “she has the right to hold her opinions”. We’ve previously written about how Harry Potter fans are coping with Rowling’s views.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.