The world’s biggest charity speedrunning event, Games Done Quick (opens in new tab) (GDQ), has banned speedruns of Hogwarts Legacy and other Harry Potter games in the most recent iteration of its speedrun submission guide (opens in new tab). A new section of the guide listing “Disallowed games”—which didn’t exist on the page as recently as January 6, per the Wayback Machine (opens in new tab)—explicitly forbids runners from submitting Harry Potter game speedruns to the bi-annual charity event.
GDQ doesn’t explain why, exactly, Hogwarts Legacy and other Harry Potter games have been banned from future GDQ events, but it’s difficult to see it as anything other than a response to the association with Harry Potter author JK Rowling (opens in new tab), whose transphobic comments have come to eclipse pretty much every creative work associated with her in the last few years. It’s likely that GDQ, which has featured several trans streamers and recently cancelled an event in Florida in part due to that state’s anti-LGBT+ legislation (opens in new tab), simply has no desire to associate itself with the author.
I’ve reached out to GDQ to ask about its reasoning for banning Harry Potter games, and I’ll update this piece if I hear back.
The ban might not be permanent. There are two entries in the disallowed list that are marked as “subject to further review in the future,” and Harry Potter games make up one of them. It could be that if the Harry Potter brand manages to successfully disassociate itself from Rowling’s reactionary politics, we’ll one day see Hogwarts grace a future GDQ. The other game that’s subject to further review, by the way, is Five Nights at Freddy’s. I’ve asked GDQ why that is, too.
Although Hogwarts is the most notable entry on GDQ’s disallowed games list, it’s far from the only one. Other banned games include 2005’s God of War (probably for its cringeworthy minigame-based sex scene), Ion Fury (which refused to remove homophobic content (opens in new tab) in 2019), and, um, Frog Fractions. I was a bit baffled by that last one, but a wise Reddit user named Camwood7 (opens in new tab) reminded me that the first Frog Fractions game featured a “bug porn” segment that GDQ probably doesn’t want to stream out on its family-friendly charity stream. Fair play, really.