It happens all the time. Someone says something awful and gets held accountable for it. People defend the person who says the bad thing, and start attacking other people who are criticising the person who said the bad thing. “It’s free speech,” they say, while also telling people they should shut up. You see, their free speech is sacred, but you’re just participating in cancel culture by opposing it. This, my friends, is the art of the grift.
In case you’re not up to speed, Hogwarts Legacy – the upcoming Avalanche game set within the Harry Potter universe – has been steeped in controversy. That controversy began with its very existence, thanks to the transphobic views spouted by series creator J.K. Rowling. People don’t want to support her financially by purchasing the game, and that’s their choice. It’s a valid stance. Vote with your wallet, as the saying goes.
Since then, it’s come to light that the game’s lead designer, Troy Leavitt, also runs a GamerGate-adjacent YouTube channel. It’s the kind of thing you see from the usual suspects. Among the videos are things like, “In Defense of John Lasseter”, “12 script changes to save The Last Jedi”, “The myth of the male gaze in video games”, “It’s OK to be a gamer”, “The injustice of social justice”, “A game developer’s open letter to Anita Sarkeesian”, and other assorted dog turds.
To try claw back some good press, developers at Avalanche leaked internal plans to allow players to play as a transgender character. Clearly, the developers inside Avalanche were embarrassed and upset that the actions of Leavitt and Rowling were jeopardising the game they’re creating. It’s hard not to feel bad for them.
Leavitt has since put out a tweet announcing that he’s parting ways with Avalanche:
“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,” he said in a tweet.
“2. I will be releasing a YouTube Video about this soon on my channel.”
That second point is where everyone should start stroking their chins. It’s classic grifter tactics. Leavitt will release a video claiming he’s left to save the project – a selfless act to defend the developers there. You see, he aims to become a martyr in the eyes of his supporters. The video will likely demonise games journalists as the root cause of his problems, rather than being used for introspection or to admit that his actions had consequences.
Once he does this, the views on his channel will skyrocket, thanks to both his supporters and people who are morbidly curious. The algorithm will reward him for it and he’ll get back to putting out videos about why he hates Brie Larson or some other asinine shit. Along with people like Shapiro, he will become another cog in the hate machine on YouTube, his videos revolving around the algorithm and reinforcing the beliefs of people who already watch similar tosh. Either that or he’ll go the crowdfunding route and promise to lead development on a game “free of politics”, and the suckers will eat it up. If he was being assigned to a Hogwarts house, it would be Griftindor.
We see this all the time and people never wise up to it. There are countless grifters I won’t name because I don’t want to give them any oxygen and they’re as bad for name searching as Lord Voldemort, but I hope one day the people who get sucked in by this will realise they’re being played. Until then, the grift will power on.
Next: WB Games Has Delayed Hogwarts Legacy Into 2022
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- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Xbox Series X
Kirk is the Editor-in-Chief at TheGamer. He likes Arkane games a little too much.
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