I want to be evil in Hogwarts Legacy but it won't let me

Hogwarts Legacy evil
(Image credit: Avalanche Software)

"So what are you going to do with it?" Professor Fig asks me as I stride up to the glowing red orb. The final repository in Hogwarts Legacy, charged with dark magic long hidden from the wizarding world, is as daunting as it is enticing. My mind is already clear on what I want to do with it: I want to keep its power for myself, bend it to my will, and become the most powerful Dark Witch of all time.

I defeat goblin rebel Ranrok in a gruelling final showdown. He whimpers pitifully on the ground, and I take up my wand to command Isidora's magic for myself. My eyes flicker scarlet for all of a split second as I syphon power out of the dead goblin, raising my wand to release a devastating bolt of magic that is sure to change everything. And all of a sudden the screen blacks out. 

I come-to in the Great Hall as the school toasts the loss of Professor Fig. I raise my chalice solemnly, and… that's it. I throw down my controller and curse the skies. That was my big villain era moment, and it absolutely sucked.

Illusions of grandeur

Hogwarts Legacy evil

(Image credit: Avalanche Software)

When I started playing Hogwarts Legacy, I had already decided that I wanted to be the bad guy. Talk of branching quest lines and multiple endings led me to believe that there would be actual consequences for my actions. I'm miserable to report that there were absolutely none. No matter what I did, no matter how many avadas I kedavra'd, it appears there was only ever one conclusion I was being ushered toward. The universal ending is that I must go back to school even after attempting the most devious act of magical treachery ahead of He Who Must Not Be Named, and it was the biggest letdown ever.

There are some dialogue choices you make during the game that truly feel like pivotal moments. Whether it's deciding to learn the unforgivable curses or not, or defending Sebastian to his uncle and getting you both seemingly exiled from Feldcroft, the game gave me the heartless illusion that I could funnel my character toward some sort of "bad ending" – or at least an ending where I didn't end up on the right side of the tracks. The teachers put a lot of trust into the incapable hands of this fifth-year newbie, and I wanted to make sure that they regretted it.

I'm not being dramatic when I tell you that I did everything evil under the sun to ensure that my dark reign of terror would dawn over Hogwarts. I chose my words carefully during the Sorting ceremony to make sure I was put in Slytherin. I promptly learned all three unforgivable curses from my best buddy Sebastian Sallow, and I cast Imperio on a blind guy who only wanted to help us. I even gave myself a gnarly scar right down one of my eyes to show how tough I am, see?

I stole every item recovered for my poor unfortunate classmates. I used Crucio on spiders and egged Sebastian onto the dark arts. I even tried to full-on ignore dear Poppy Sweeting, since her storyline seemed far too twee for the evil likes of me. So why on earth, after all of that, am I being sent back to class with nothing more than a warning from Weasley to swot up for my O.W.L.S? It makes no sense, and I'm mad about it.


Hogwarts Legacy evil

(Image credit: Avalanche Software)

I'm not being dramatic when I tell you that I did everything evil under the sun to ensure that my dark reign of terror would dawn over Hogwarts.

If there's one thing I think Hogwarts Legacy majorly missed out on, then – more so than Quidditch or mermaids or Wizard's Chess – it's the option of getting a bad ending as comeuppance for your wrongdoings. The world is beautiful to explore, and the painstaking architectural design of the castle and its surroundings means I will return to the game again and again, but by denying us a bad ending I feel the game entirely misses one of the core aspects of being a witch or wizard. 

It's a role-playing game, but you're typecast into the role of being a good guy with zero opportunity to sway the moral compass. The capacity to misuse your magic has always been on the cards for any sorcerer, with the threat of a stay in Azkaban ever looming as a warning to stay on the straight and narrow. But you don't get locked up for using banned spells. You can't get a different ending by declaring that you want to steal tempestuous magic and use it for yourself. By providing no consequences for your actions, unforgivable curses are now merely curses. You can torture, manipulate, and murder as many enemies as you like, and the most you will get is a concerned comment from a nearby classmate. 

If you're worried that using dark magic will affect your outcome, don't be. Like it or not, you'll need to sit those exams anyway. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to kidnap and breed some Thestrals, because apparently poaching is only bad when other people do it.

The release of Hogwarts Legacy has been the subject of criticism and debate due to J.K. Rowling's public stance on gender identity, which continues to challenge the inclusivity at the heart of the Harry Potter community. Here is our explainer on the Hogwarts Legacy controversy.

Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.