Hogwarts Legacy’s New Arachnophobia Mode Is A Harry Potter Callback

A wizard picks up a wand before heading to school.
A wizard picks up a wand before heading to school.

Hogwarts Legacy arrives on PS4 and Xbox One today alongside a new arachnophobia mode (available in all versions) that turns off all of the action-RPG’s spiders. An increasingly popular accessibility option for new games, the Harry Potter spin-off gets creative by using it to incorporate a reference from the movies.

Part of a massive new update that fixes over 500 bugs and aims to improve stability and performance overall, the arachnophobia toggle removes almost every spider in the game. No more small ones on the ground, no more big ones attacking you, and no more spider skitters and screeches. Even spider corpses will vanish. The only images of the arachnids that will remain in the game will be those found in the Field Guide bestiary.

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The mode accomplishes this in a clever way, however. Instead of simply removing enemy spiders altogether, it disguises them as pink balls and puts roller skates on each of their eight legs. It’s a callback to when Harry Potter and his friends faced a boggart in their Defense Against the Dark Arts class in the third film. Deathly afraid of spiders, Ron Weasley’s boggart turns into one. To disarm it, Professor Lupin advises him to imagine it as his aunt instead. Now players with a similar fear of spiders can massacre hundreds of these same caricatures instead while exploring the Forbidden Forest.

Warner Bros. recently announced Hogwarts Legacy has sold over 15 million copies and grossed over $1 billion. That’s in spite of some underwhelmed reviews criticizing its lack of imagination and rote open world. An intense debate around a boycott of the game due to the transphobic baggage surrounding the author of its source material, J.K. Rowling, doesn’t appear to have derailed it either, though it has led many longtime fans to re-evaluate their personal relationship with fiction.

While not part of the game’s development, Rowling still collects royalty checks from her licensing deals with Warner Bros. and doesn’t appear keen to stop overshadowing the Harry Potter world anytime soon. The author is also set to be an executive producer on a planned 10-year HBO TV adaptation of the books, with executives at the company dodging any accountability for the views she’s expressed in an era when there’s a full-blown assault on transgender rights.

“My appreciation for those books remains—but it is firmly in the past. Moving forward, I am not killing my memories of Harry Potter—the forays into role-playing forums, the fanfic I wrote, the dates at the movie theater,” wrote my colleague Linda Codega in an excellent essay over at io9. “I am killing the part of me that imagines any attempt to experience those specific moments again, to feel, for a second, as if I am a child, magically transported to Hogwarts—a place where your friends will support you, your family will find you, and the monsters are the creatures with blood under their claws—is worth supporting J.K. Rowling.”


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