Hogwarts Legacy Dev With Controversial YouTube Past Explains Why He Left The Studio
Troy Leavitt is trying to set the record straight for what happened and why he left Avalanche.
Game developer Troy Leavitt, who found himself in hot water after coming under fire for his controversial YouTube channel, has explained why he left Harry Potter: Hogwarts Legacy studio Avalanche Software. He released the recording of a video presentation he gave to colleagues at the time of his departure, which spells out the reasons for his departure, his reaction to the articles written about him, and more.
He started by laying out a timeline. In January 2020, before the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leavitt said he received some "difficult news" about his family. By April of 2020, he told HR that he was planning to retire in August of 2020 and then move to Nevada to be closer to family and help with the "family issues." The Avalanche team suggested that Leavitt instead take some time off and come back when he could, and that's what he did.
Leavitt said WB Games was a good partner during his time at Avalanche and said again that the management was aware of his YouTube channel years ago. After reports about Leavitt's YouTube channel began to make the rounds, management at WB Games did not pressure him into retiring or stepping away, Leavitt said. "Not in the least," he said. "I never felt like my job or my position was truly threatened." But Leavitt eventually followed through with his plan to retire and he did so in March 2021 to be with his family.
Leavitt then gets into the reports about his YouTube channel that emerged in February 2021. Leavitt was criticized for some of his videos that touched on people and topics that were deemed to be controversial such as his thoughts on feminism and his opinions on John Lasseter. People have asked him if he felt like it was an example of cancel culture. He said, "To me, it sure feels like it." Leavitt also took aim at the reports themselves, saying they failed to meet journalistic standards and that they "smeared" him without any supporting evidence.
"In my opinion or my estimation, I am nowhere near being alt-right. I have no white supremacist tendencies. I don't consider myself anti-feminist in the least," he said.
Leavitt also shared his resignation letter that he sent to his boss. In it, Leavitt says he leaves the studio with "only the warmest of feelings" for Avalanche and WB. "Unfortunately, things on [the family front] have seriously deteriorated since the beginning of February of this year," he said. "I now see the situation as chronic and likely to be high maintenance into the foreseeable future. I do not believe I will be able to take care of the family issues in my life while still giving the project the care and attention it deserves."
This is not the first time that Hogwarts Legacy has found itself in some controversy. The series is based on the work of author J.K. Rowling, who has made comments about transgender people that she has been criticized for. In response to this, the developers at Avalanche are planning to add a new feature that lets you customize your character to be transgender.
Hogwarts Legacy, originally planned to release this year, has been delayed to 2022. It will be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and PC.