Time To Die: Wizardry Returns

By Alec Meer on June 14th, 2011 at 5:05 pm.

Wait, those aren't line graphics

Landmark cRPG Wizardry, one of the first games to try and electronicify the values and systems introduced by D&D and thus help birth the genre we now call roleplaying games, has never entirely gone away, truth be told. It’s seen an unending torrent of spin-offs, sequels and remakes since its Apple-based birth in 1981, but a full-on comeback has eluded it. That appears to be on the cards, thanks to a reboot in what’s now the age-old tradition – sticking the word ‘Online’ on the end of the title. But wait! Do not gallop away on your horse of cynicism. There’s at least one thing to suggest this is taking roleplaying very, very seriously…

As the no-doubt divisive image up-top might suggest, it’s due from the East rather than West – Japanese publisher Gamepot (don’t add an S or it all becomes terribly confusing) and developer Headlock. Despite its US origins, Wizardry has been something of the perennial in Japan, hence all those spin-offs and now this free to play MMO.

We’re promised that WO will “harken back to the original allure of the groundbreaking Wizardry RPG series, but bring updated flair for modern gamers” and have “hardcore role-playing elements.”

This latter might sound yer average ballsy, melodramatic press release claim, but here’s something to back it up: Wizardry Online will feature permanent death. Yep, the feature so beloved of roguelikes is making a comeback in something altogether more high-budget.

The game will feature PvP (inevitably), which is new territory for Wizardry; not sure as yet whether permadeath can be achieved/inflicted in that yet, but it’s going to make for some epic, horrendous ganking if so.

Japan’s being treated to a private beta in a few months, while a global release is planned for next year. Justice for and to Wizardry, or another dusty, olden name turned cynically to microtransactions? We’ll see, but the permadeath does suggest Headlock and Gamepot aren’t just slapping a license onto a server.

In the meantime, here’s a cinematic trailer focusing on the evolution of Wizardry but giving away absolutely nowt about the game itself.

More details and piccies over yonder.

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105 Comments »

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  1. Alaric says:

    I’m kinda uncomfortable with permadeath. And in the game.

    • Jumwa says:

      Likewise. And I’ve never equated it with roleplaying either. Unless you’re roleplaying a real world setting without magic and sufficient technology.

      It seems a rather arbitrary move for hype to stick permadeath on a fantasy game with magic and demons and such.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      How so? “Magic” can mean a lot of things. Limiting its ability to bring back the dead is an extremely common trope; see just about any piece of literature involving magic. Harry Potter, Song of Ice and Fire, The Monkey’s Paw, etc.

      It’s mostly videogames that have broken that rule, making death meaningless. In most tabletop RPGs, death is death. Roll another character.

    • Jumwa says:

      My comment wasn’t about the possibility of it, just the point. In a video game permadeath is an extremely inhibiting and excluding factor to have. Putting it into a setting where it doesn’t particularly make any more sense than not putting it in, then, is a design choice, not a commitment to roleplay. Especially if it’s being added to a setting that didn’t have it before.

      That’s not to say that it can’t or shouldn’t be done, but to say that it makes it more of a “hardcore RP” just seems arbitrary and silly.

    • dadioflex says:

      Permadeath doesn’t mean every death has to be permanent. Dragonrealms (MUD) had permadeath if you didn’t quest for favours (I can’t remember the exact name) and have some stored up before you died, or have someone give up one of their own in order to resurrect you.

      I’ve never really dabbled in PvP but it would be interesting to see a system where getting killed is a big deal and not just a case of re-spawning.

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      Joshua says:

      Reply fail

    • Jumwa says:

      Er, wrong thread.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      what’s that game on iPad, Infinity Blade.

      You die, but your character comes back as the son.

      Throw that out, make yourselves magical vat-clones, no grind levels, and away we go.

    • malkav11 says:

      There are plenty of MUDs where death had major consequences that could set you back weeks of playtime. There’s a reason modern MMOs have largely moved away from that: for most people, that is not only not fun, it is pretty much the opposite of fun. I happen to be one of those people.

      Also, permadeath in the sense of character wipe is not something I want in a realtime game, much less an online realtime game. If I’m going to lose my character, I want it to be fully my mistake, not a random failure of reflexes or netcode. (Or framerate, for that matter.)

    • Azru says:

      I’ve used to play the Discworld MUD. Had a decent character, put probably around ~100h of playtime into it and lost it because of the permadeath. It was completely my fault though, in that game you could buy yourself additional lives for cash (in a nutshell, it actually is a bit more complicated than that) but I used to play with only 2 on me, for the thrill. While attempting a rescue mission for a friend in a highly dangerous zone – I died as well. After that I got resurrected and in a freak accident immediately (5 seconds later) died again due to one of my fellow rescuers unknowingly bringing additional foes to the place I was standing in. Thus I lost my character forever.

      It was quite a pain, believe me, and I was honestly stunned. And while it was a really painful loss that left me a bit depressed for the next few days I haven’t stopped playing. And am all in for a reasonable permadeath system in a MMO that would reward smart play and punish being reckless and dumb (like I was).

    • anonymousity says:

      4 days of play time in a mud is nothing.

    • Arcturan Megadonkey says:

      Back when I played EQ years ago I had over 200 days logged. And yet, 100 hours is still a non-trivial amount of time spent on a character.

  2. Vinraith says:

    Anime MMO. You can put any name you want on that, it’ll still be a pass.

    • Dominic White says:

      There have been more Japanese wizardry games than western-made ones now. And y’know what? The Japanese ones are more old-school and hardcore than the later Sir-Tech ones. A new one JUST launched on PSN, which is styled almost entirely like Wizardry 1-3. Square-based dungeons, brutal difficulty, simple but clearly D&D-inspired rules, etc.

      I’m personally replaying Wizardry: Tale of The Forsaken Land on the PS2, and it’s similar to that, but slightly expanded. Also, weirdly less trad-anime than the latest offerings, favouring 80’s swords n’ sorcery art styles, meaning that almost nobody wears trousers, men or women. Dwarven blacksmiths in leather thongs? Yes!

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dominic

      Not sure what that has to do with what I posted but ok, that’s nice. I’ve been playing Etrian Odyssey on DS, which is also unfortunately saddled with dog-ugly anime art, but the gameplay is strong enough that I can overlook that. Certainly there’s no problem among Japanese iterations of dungeon crawlers regarding rule complexity or difficulty, and it’s certainly nice that someone is keeping up that tradition.

      It’s profoundly unfortunate that those Wizardry titles aren’t being ported over to PC for us westerners, art style aside I’d likely buy and enjoy them anyway. Instead, we get an MMO. Blech.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Dominic White: But the Wizardry series had square based worlds/dungeons all the way up to (but excluding) the final entry in the series, Wizardry 8. The first Wizardry game was absolutely ground-breaking for the time, but Wizardry VI, VII and 8 are superior to the early ones in almost every possible way. While the first few games were very primitive and simplistic (but subsequently harder), the last three were much more complex, far deeper, were much better designed and actually had some sort of narrative. In fact, the final three Wizardry games have some of the best character development systems ever designed exclusively for a computer game. Probably even the best.

    • Archonsod says:

      “The Japanese ones are more old-school and hardcore than the later Sir-Tech ones”

      Shame only 7 & 8 were any good really.

    • Demiath says:

      @Dominic White: The Japanese Wizardries are more old school from a technical standpoint, but also feel awfully limited and conservative compared to the highly ambitious open world RPGs which ended the “real” series, i.e. Sir-Tech’s Wizardry VII (1992) and Wizardry 8 (2001).

      I fully understand that the Japanese developers and players have always been far more interested in the concept of first-person dungeon crawling than the Wizardry IP in and of itself, but it would be nice if they finally started acknowledging just what an innovative, multi-layered, forward-thinking series D.W. Bradley and Sir-Tech had transformed Wizardry into by the time the developer closed down ten years ago now.

      For me, Wizardry 8’s satisfying character development, tactical party dynamics, vast world to explore (both in and out of dungeons), light-hearted humor, colorful VO and story-related choices with real consequences represents the (ideal) future of RPGs; and to see the Japanese churn out yet another dungeon crawler as if time stopped in 1984 is a tad bit depressing. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing inherently wrong about that particular subgenre (and Tale of the Forsaken Land is a good example of how to innovate within the basic design structure of the dungeon crawler), but to me Wizardry had become about so much more than that when the series ended prematurely in 2001.

    • karry says:

      “The first Wizardry game was absolutely ground-breaking for the time’

      It was an Ultima clone.

      “How is tile based movement better than free movement in W8?”

      Depends. For a pure dungeon crawler – tile movement is clearly better. It keeps the focus on important things, instead of trying to fit your fat bounding box in every corner while checking the surroundings. For a full blown RPG with an overworld – maybe its not that great of an idea.

    • Wizardry says:

      @karry: An Ultima clone? What the fucking fuck? Are you serious? The first Wizardry was in development before the first Ultima was released, and Ultima didn’t have parties until Ultima III in 1983. Obvious troll is obvious.

      @Demiath: You, sir, have an awesome opinion.

    • Nick says:

      yeah.. seriously karry.. wtf?

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      Joshua says:

      Wait. So we have more Japanese Wizardries then western ones. THen we have Final Fantasy, which has its roots from Wizardry as well. That is one awfull lot of wizardries. And wizardry was rooted off from D&D, which also spawned stuff like just about everything Bioware made and Pool of Radiance and …
      Aaagh.

    • Wizardry says:

      Almost all CRPGs today are indirectly influenced by Ultima and Wizardry. The only exception may be rogue-likes, as they are, of course, descendants of Rogue, which came out around the same time as the first Ultima and Wizardry games.

      Wizardry’s influence on the genre came mainly from its first person party based gameplay as well as its combat system. You see, the first two instalments of the Ultima series were single character games with only two real options in combat, move a square or attack in a cardinal direction. Wizardry, from the outset, allowed you to create an entire party of adventurers and thus its combat system involved telling each character what to do in their turn, from attacking a particular enemy to using an item or casting a spell. In other words what people call “JRPG combat”. However, it wasn’t just JRPGs that Wizardry inspired. Series such as The Bard’s Tale, Might and Magic and Phantasie were all Wizardry descendants. There were even a number of real-time descendants such as the Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Ishar series. Even Fallout was inspired by a game called Wasteland, a game that featured a Wizardry type combat system. The Elder Scrolls series was influenced by the likes of Ultima Underworld, a game that was itself inspired by Dungeon Master, a real-time Wizardry descendent. I’ve even read somewhere that Ultima III adopted the concept of party members due to Wizardry. This would make all top down/isometric party based RPGs (indirectly) influenced by Wizardry as well.

      However, Wizardry isn’t just an old influential series that is merely a primitive piece of history by today’s standards. The first 5 Wizardry games were all very similar, featuring large wire-frame dungeons for you to crawl around in, with minimal plot. However, in 1990, with the release of Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge, the first part of the Dark Savant trilogy of games, Wizardry transformed itself entirely with a complete overhaul of just about everything. Following on from this, Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant was released in 1992, and Wizardry 8 was finally realised in 2001 to complete the trilogy. These three games are still very playable today and in some respects have yet to be surpassed.

      The Japanese spin-offs began at the start of the 90s, just as the Dark Savant trilogy was kicking off. Therefore the Japanese spin-offs were based on the 80s formula of the first 5 Wizardry games. After the main Wizardry series died in 2001 with Wizardry 8 (with Sir-Tech going bankrupt), the spin-offs continued when the Wizardry IP was sold to some Japanese company. In other words, all of these Japanese Wizardry games coming out now, as well as all the JRPGs that the first 5 Wizardry games inspired, haven’t really been influenced at all by the Dark Savant trilogy.

      When people talk about playing through Wizardry today, chances are, unless they are console gamers or Japanese, they are talking about the Dark Savant trilogy (VI, VII and 8). Truly awesome games that hold up very well today. Oh, and in case you haven’t realised, Sir-Tech (the Wizardry developers) also developed Jagged Alliance 2, which for some reason has overshadowed Wizardry in conversations about PC gaming.

      Just a bit of history for you.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Richard Bartle claims that MUD1 (1978) had no influence from D&D aside from the basic notion of character levels, so there’s another branch for you. Rooted primarily in fantasy literature rather than games, traceable through to DikuMUD and EverQuest and World of Warcraft and beyond.

    • Wizardry says:

      In my opinion the MUD branch is a little iffy. Back in the really early days, MUDs were far closer to text adventures/interactive fiction than to the 1970s mainframe RPGs (that predated MUDs) such as pedit5, dnd and Dungeon. Dungeon, incidentally was actually the first computer RPG to feature party-based gameplay. Of course, Wizardry popularised it and evolved it.

      When you look at the later graphical MUDs and MMORPGs you see a dual influence from both text based MUDs and actual CRPGs. If you take Ultima Online (1997), for instance, it was basically Ultima plus graphical MUD. If you take Dark Sun Online: Crimson Sands (1996), it was basically Dark Sun: Shattered Lands/Wake of the Ravager plus graphical MUD. If you take the original Neverwinter Nights (1991) it was actually a Gold Box engine game combined with a graphical MUD. So basically, the actual RPG mechanics behind all the MMOs we see today were taken straight from CRPGs, with the social aspect and group adventuring coming from MUDs.

      So what I mean is that you are half right, but only because MUDs are a mix of genres. MUDs definitely have their own traceable route of games, but to say modern MMOs come straight from MUDs other than being influenced by both MUDs and CRPGs is bending the truth somewhat.

    • jeremypeel says:

      @ Wizardry

      Thanks for that, genuinely. You’ve helped connect up some dots in my head.

      Also, I miss Sir-Tech. Having discovered Jagged Alliance 2 first, it suddenly made sense discovering that they made the later Wizardrys – JA2 feels like a super-progressive RPG to me, in the same way Dead State looks set to be. Both made by fantastic, experienced Western CRPG developers with design decisions driven by a unique setting and situation. Sigh.

      Sir-Tech Canada this is, to clarify. I wonder if any of their survivors are at Bioware?

    • Wizardry says:

      @jeremypeel: Yeah, I can agree with that. Sir-Tech loved their RPGs. You can tell from just about all aspects of their games. Unlike other developers that started caring more about cutscenes, narrative and lots of tedious dialogue at the expense of deep gameplay, Sir-Tech, right to their very end, stuck to what they were best at.

      I don’t think many Sir-Tech employees could have ended up at BioWare. After all, BioWare games have been losing statistics and tactical combat since Baldur’s Gate II.

    • jeremypeel says:

      @ Wizardry

      Mmm, have you seen where some of the main players of Troika have ended up now though? Leonard Boyarsky is on Diablo III story duties for Blizzard! A chance to escape a life pursuing their wildest game design ideas, but in constant crunch time; who can blame them?

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    Anthile says:

    Gamepot indeed.

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      Colthor says:

      I’ve never heard of Gamepot. Are their games addictive, or just forgettable stinkers?

    • Nick says:

      well played Colthor..

    • Dreamhacker says:

      I’m not really expecting their games to be a gust of fresh air.

    • Atomosk says:

      Before playing TF2 I usually grab my lighter, step outside, and partake in some Gamepot.

  4. Kaira- says:

    I thought he never went away from here…?

  5. mmalove says:

    At least it’s not a WOW clone.

  6. gwathdring says:

    Hmmm. Perma death. In PvP. Well, if they do it’ll certainly be hilarious for anyone not directly involved.

    • Dominic White says:

      If it’s anything like the past few modern Wizardry games, expect to lose characters on a semi-regular basis. If a party member dies, resurrection is expensive, and has a chance to fail. If it fails, they’re dead forever. Go to the guild and roll up a new character to join the group. They’ll level up quickly and be useful in no time.

      Bring on the old-school.

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      Christian says:

      Hmm…didn’t Bard’s Tale do that as well? At least I remember the fights to be quite tense..

  7. colinmarc says:

    I’ll check it out, art style notwithstanding.

  8. Wizardry says:

    Meh. Wizardry hasn’t been Wizardry ever since Sir-Tech died after creating the majestic Wizardry 8 and sold the intellectual property over to some Japanese company who then proceeded to pump out spin off after spin off after spin off after spin off. Plus, all those spin offs seem to be based on the old Wizardry formula of Wizardry I to III rather than taking on board any of the advancements made to the genre in the fantastically-playable-today trilogy of Wizardry VI to 8.

    But this is real-time and an MMO full of microtransactions, so it’s even further away from the heights of the series. In other words…

    Noooooooooooooooooooooo.

    RPS should do some article about the importance of the Wizardry series to just about every game we see today. The series is hardly ever mentioned in the “mainstream” gaming press other than when reporting on news of the 100,000th Japanese spin off. Wizardry is far from some archaic beast that existed in the early days of the 1980s. Wizardry VI, VII and 8 (The Dark Savant trilogy) consists of some of the finest RPGs ever created.

    • TariqOne says:

      Out of curiosity, do you like Wizardry?

    • colinmarc says:

      teehee

    • Wulf says:

      I like Wizardry. Or at least the later instalments. It was such a bizarre series of games, it really was, and it was something that you can’t really explain to someone else, you can just point them at it and let them play it. It was fantasy, but with all sorts of other things going on. Most people wouldn’t play it though because it was admittedly as hard as friggin’ nails, especially on newer machines due to combat timing (though I hear there’s a mod for that).

      Though I punished myself even when I played it. Because all of my races defied the stereotypes, yes, I know Rawulfs make good priests, but mine was a bard. Most RPG fans would probably consider the way I played Wizardry as being somewhat badass, but it was just because I wanted to. I had certain characters in my head and I was going to play them, damn it! Screw the difficulty!

      I still have such fond memories of talking to a mildly ticked off sounding AI-laden spaceship.

    • TariqOne says:

      I should clarify: the original few Wizardy games are among my favorite gaming experiences ever. And I tend to agree with most of the poster Wizardy’s views on RPGs. Just couldn’t resist the tweak.

    • Nick says:

      The dark savant Wizardrys are excellent, even though I don’t really like the whole sci-fi + fantasy thing and find some of the races a bit silly, the games are great. Wizardry 8 could have done with a bit more to find when exploring and a bit less ‘groups of giant crabs that level scaled and serve only to irritate you’ but its still probably my favourite.

    • Urthman says:

      Hey, that reminds me. Did Cleve ever release Grimoire?

  9. Highstorm says:

    That top SS looks like it’s ripped straight out of FF14.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, I thought the same. Though it’s probably going to be more straight up medieval than that, sort of like the really, really awful DS spin offs. One of which I’ve had the misfortune of playing.

  10. Benkyo says:

    At last, an MMO I might consider playing! Been a very long time since I last thought that…

  11. povu says:

    The music doesn’t help either.

  12. ZIGS says:

    Goddamn weeaboos

  13. zeroskill says:

    *Gallops away on epic cynicism mount* o/

  14. Pani says:

    Watching that trailer, I started thinking, “oh dear, that second guy had better run away”. Then to my surprise, he actually did! Lol.
    +1 for running away and buggering off.

  15. McDan says:

    Maybe, the permadeath does intrigue me though.

  16. Cinnamon says:

    Mook Gadgeteer is imba. Gets epic level omnigun and robot ninja pet practically for free and can faceroll everyone else.

    • Wulf says:

      …hahahahaha. Oh gods. Memories. Mook gadgeteers were awesome. Mooks were awesome, period.

  17. TariqOne says:

    Those huge-eyed elfbaby things are making me sad and angry.

    WTF IS IT AND WHY IS IT UBIQUITOUS IN ASIA?!?!

    • Vinraith says:

      I really WOULD be interested in knowing what on Earth that bizarre trope is rooted in. Those things are creepy beyond words.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Probably not a direct connection, but back in the 70’s there was a brief fad for schlock-art “Keane eye” paintings of creepy kids with big eyes. So it’s maybe not just an Asian thing?

      http://www.keane-eyes.com/

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s definitely gotten a lot worse in the past decade, though. Aformentioned PS2 Wizardry game had some asian influence in the art style, but it was mostly inspired by 80s swords n’ sorcery art. Very Frank Frazetta in places. Grubby muscles, heaving bosoms and oiled thighs for both men and women alike. The four main races – Humans, Elves, Hobbits & Dwarves – looked just as you’d expect. The very latest couple of Wizardry titles really go overboard with the trad-anime stylings, and dwarves basically become ‘slightly muscly anime kids’.

      There’s a fair few theories regarding media stagnation over in Japan, with a dwindling number of companies trying to appeal to an increasingly entrenched and polarized audience, rather than attempting to diversify.

      Long story short, thought – it really has gotten much more noticable over the course of this console generation.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well I think it just comes from different design philosophies. In western RPGs the hero is generally an adult who is preparing to enter the wider world. In JRPGs characters are generally young teenagers or even children to represent their growth through the course of the adventure. Going from bratty little kid to responsible adult hero over the course of the game.

      For a nice little post about it, on a hentai site so I won’t provide a direct link, google “why-are-characters-in-japanese-rpgs-always-children/”

      Sadly a lot of games seem to get stuck at bratty kid and forget the adult part so you end up with every JRPG littered with big eyed mouth breathers and… lolis.

    • Dominic White says:

      But like I said, even within the Japanese-made Wizardry games, there has been a MASSIVE move towards traditional super-cute anime stylings in the past 6-7 years. Tale of The Forsaken Land, despite being entirely Japanese-developed, leaned towards a far more 80s fantasy art style which worked much better, given that the source material is basically 80s dungeon crawling.

      It’s not just games, too. The entire anime industry is falling that way and hard. Half the studios out there have imploded, and the few that remain standing tend to err on the side of lazy, simple, exaggerated art to catch a dwindling viewer-base that become more and more particular each season.

  18. Vexing Vision says:

    I’m really, really looking forward to trying this.

    Briefly, probably, but I’m definitely intrigued.

  19. Wulf says:

    This doesn’t look like any relevant Wizardry game that I’m familiar with. :|

    No, this has nothing at all to do with it having a more Asian look to it, as considering that Okami and Skies of Arcadia are among my favourite games, I’d dare say I’m not that shallow. Not at all. However, Wizardry has always been about fantastic fantasy, they didn’t pull any punches in regards to weird shit, they’re unafraid of it. I still remember staring in awe and wonder at some of the things that they dared to do with the most recent Wizardry trilogy and I admired SirTech for it.

    The thing is is that this looks as run of the mill fantasy as anything can be. That looks like it could be any medieval-ish game, with an Asian slant. It looks kind of like Final Fantasy, sans chocobos and airships. But that’s just not Wizardry. Wizardry was about doing interesting things with fantasy, I travelled in a space ship in Wizardry. I doubt this version will feature space ships. :[ Then there are all the crazy races. The Dracon; the Faeries; the Felpurr; the Lizardmen; the Mooks; the Rawulf… I don’t doubt that they’re all missing, too.

    To me, this just seems to be milking a brand name for an MMORPG but not being faithful to it.

  20. K. says:

    Need more information, don’t want to assume from PR-speak:
    [ ] Turn-based combat system.
    [ ] Control a party of at least 4 characters.

    Both can be done in an MMO (see: Atlantica Online).
    Both are required by me to accept this thing as anything Wizardry-like.
    …the Asia-Art I can live with.

  21. Tuor says:

    At first I thought, “What, Sir-Tech is *alive*?!” Then I was like, “Oh, it’s some Asian company that got the IP…” and *then* I was like, “MMO? For reals? WTF is up with all these guys taking good, quality IPs and turning them into MMOs to be milked forever?” So, yeah, I was, like, bummed, you know? So bummed!

    Now I’m like, “Whatever.” This whole article has just made me *so* depressed. Maybe I’ll just go back and play W8 again…. or not. :P

    • Wulf says:

      Yeeeep.

      Sigh.

      And I don’t think I could replay Wizardry 8 again, either. I’ve played it twice but I think my sight just wouldn’t allow me to play it currently. I have played it a few times in the past though. Fond memories.

  22. Zanchito says:

    But I liked the SirTech versions!!!! Keep my Final Fantasy separated from my Wizardry, I have enough love in my heart for both of them!

  23. DeepSleeper says:

    I’m torn between two reactions to this comment section.

    First, where the HELL were you people when the inclusion of the old-school, totally-canon-and-awesome sci-fi elements in the Might and Magic games got shouted out of the Heroes series?

    Second, wow, I guess Wizardry 6-8 are all most people remember now. The Japanese branch split off at 5 and went from there and never changed much. They’re much closer to the original design of the series, not the Might and Magic-esqe later trilogy. It is not better, it is not worse, it is different.

    Personally I -really wish- they’d include some of the elements of the later trilogy, In particular the extra classes, in the Japanese titles. But they are not driving the games off a cliff on fire. Really, they’re quite good. I have hopes for the MMO, in spite of PvP and permadeath, both of which I hate.

    • Wizardry says:

      What? How were the last three Wizardry games Might and Magic-esqe? The Might and Magic games were relatively simplistic blob combat games with quick and easy battles requiring next to no tactical thought whatsoever. Wizardry VI, VII and 8 stepped up the complexity of the character system, stepped up the depth of combat and made combat encounters take a far longer amount of time to get through. Both series were very different from each other. If anything, they both diverged from each other as time went on as the early Might and Magic games were basically early Wizardry rip offs with better graphics.

    • Nick says:

      plus the character and class system in M&M was kinda boring.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      No, no no. Not in combat system or tactics or visuals, but in including heavy science-fiction elements. Wizardry 1-5 were pretty straight fantasy, whereas in Might and Magic 1 right off the bat you’ve got aliens and spaceships.

      Wizardry 5 was my favorite game of the series. I got pretty lost and disinterested in the new batch, but I recognize they did some interesting things. I’m just saying if people are going to enthuse about the sci-fi elements and how they don’t recognize Wizardry when it’s being straight ~fantasy~ because it’s so blaaaaand, I’m going to feel sad about this.

      (Also, I am replaying Might and Magic 1 -right now-. Combat’s still pretty hard and deadly, man. Don’t know what you’re on about there.)

    • Wizardry says:

      You don’t know what I’m on about? The first Might and Magic came out 4 years before Wizardry VI. In fact, it came out a year before Wizardry IV. Like I said in my post, the Wizardry and Might and Magic series diverged in terms of gameplay, while the early Might and Magic games are basically early Wizardry rip offs (i.e. difficult and unforgiving, though definitely not as difficult, of course).

      Ultima did the whole sci-fi + fantasy before the lot back in its first two games. You could actually fly into space on a space ship and shoot enemies with lasers. They also included time travel. Fortunately it abandoned all that by Ultima III, though Exodus was arguably a computer.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      I said I don’t know what you’re on about re: M&M1 having easy combat. In my opinion, it does not.

      Yes, Ultima did the sci-fi thing first. However, nobody’s talking about Ultima. (Except that one guy who you slapped down earlier.) They’re talking about the sci-fi influences in later series Wizardry. I lamented that people didn’t seem to care the series started as straight fantasy, and brought up Might and Magic as an example of a series that had sci-fi influences to start with.

      That is literally my entire point.

      That is the ENTIRE COMPARISON.
      I am not talking about the gameplay.
      I am not talking about the character development.
      I am not talking about the class system.
      I am not talking about tactics.
      I am not talking about who ripped off who.

      My. Entire point. Was that one had a fantasy bent to start, and one had a fantasy/sci-fi hybrid bent to start.

      That is it. That is ALL. For the love of god, can I get out of this conversation now?

    • Wizardry says:

      @DeepSleeper: Perhaps you should read your first post again. Only your first paragraph talks about science fiction elements. Your second paragraph, incidentally starting with the word “secondly” to indicate that you are making a different point from the first paragraph, mentioned that the later Wizardry games were “Might and Magic-esqe”. Now you could very well have meant the science fiction elements, but wasn’t that what your first paragraph was about and not your second? So basically any confusion was brought on by yourself I’m afraid.

    • DeepSleeper says:


      You win. I give up, I’m out.
      You might want to think about not alienating people who actually agree with you, by the way.

    • Wizardry says:

      @DeepSleeper: I’m not even having a go at you. I’m just saying that the misunderstanding isn’t really my fault considering your first post.

    • Megadyptes says:

      LOL look at this Wizardry guy here, ti’s like the 80’s and early 90’s never ended for him. Keep on fighting those old RPG battles, lone warrior.

    • Nick says:

      OMGLOL

  24. Git says:

    It seems to have sort of a Demon’s Souls vibe to it. Only with permadeath. Ouch.

    • jeremypeel says:

      My thoughts too. Maybe this is an MMO in which making it past the ‘Kill ten rats’ quest will be a tremendous achievement involving incredible loss of life.

  25. Bhazor says:

    Have any of these rebirths actually produced a decent game yet?
    The only one I think came close was Uncharted Waters Online (I absolutely adored the old Snes game) which came so close to being good and then fell apart due to unbalanced combat and grinding. Its been a while since a game disappointed me that badly.

  26. Crescend says:

    I could see microtransactions making a killing with this game, people being scared of losing their character so they buy slightly better items off the store.. :P

    Either way, I’m really intrigued of this perma-death idea, I’m propably going to give this one a try at least.

  27. Wooly says:

    UGHHHHHHHHHHH

  28. MythArcana says:

    Wizardry is one of my all time favorite franchises. Now I wonder how they will completely ruin this. Subscriptions? Mass Effect syndrome? Console ripoff? One thing I have for certain is faith that these developers will completely drag these great franchises in the mud for the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.

    Long live Sir-Tech, death to consoles.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      I thought MMO games were generally a PC game only affair. I fail to understand what the console has to do with it. Nor Mass Effect, for htat matter.

      ITs like blaming immigrants for global warming.

  29. Mordsung says:

    Art style killed it before it was even born.

    There hasn’t been an RPG with decent art style in more than a decade.

  30. Zarunil says:

    Permadeath doth intrigue!

    • Dominic White says:

      Oh dear. That doesn’t look very much like Wizardry at all.

      They should have gone the way of Atlantica Online and offered party control and turn-based combat. That would have worked.

  31. roethle says:

    sad.

  32. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    I agree with Wizardry about a Wizardry retrospective, actually. You so rarely see the series get the credit it deserves, even though Dragon Quest (and thus the JRPG genre in its entirety) is a direct descendant of the first Wizardry, and the series as a whole has inspired more games than can be counted. Also, GOG needs to resurrect the games so I can actually play them, as opposed to just talking about them as if I know WTF I’m on about.

    That said, I’m vaguely interested in this project.

    Also, sorry to do this in public, dude, but I can’t work out any other way to get ahold of you, so: PM me back, please, Wizardry? If our business is concluded, at least let me know.

    EDIT: Aaaaaaaand reply fail. I was replying to Wizardry, rather obviously.

    • Wizardry says:

      Well they’ve changed the forum software so you’ll have to PM me again through the new one if you want to contact me.

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      Oh. Er. Well then.

  33. Necron99 says:

    There never was “perma death” in any Wizardry that I recall, been forever since I played 1&2 but I’m fairly certain that every single one had a way of bringing characters back to life. Seems even in 1&2 there was a temple where you could bring back a character, even if he/she was turned to ash, but it was crazy expensive. I think there was a chance after failing twice that they would be lost forever. I guess if that counts as “perma death” then I stand corrected =)

  34. kuran says:

    The Japanese have long respected the Wizardry saga, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

    Unless its Koreans..

    • Wizardry says:

      Not really. The Japanese have long respected Wizardry I to III. Wizardry VI to 8 don’t even get a look in with them.

    • Dominic White says:

      I don’t think 6-8 ever got translated, which is probably why. The language barrier is huge – vast numbers of Japanese RPGs never make it to the west and vice versa. The original few Wizardry games were lucky enough to get localized NES/SNES ports, as PC gaming never really caught on big in Japan.

    • Wizardry says:

      Yeah I know that. Just saying.

  35. pipman3000 says:

    well it’s japanese so i’ll assume everyone on rps will hate it.

  36. MadTinkerer says:

    Eh, I don’t know. See: like how Chrono Trigger was hugely more popular in the USA and Europe than it was in Japan (and is why no proper CT sequel has yet been produced (CC is a weird spin-off, not a sequel)), Wizardry was more popular in Japan than in the West. Plus, between Etrian Odyssey and the new Wizardry game on the PS3, there’s proof that there are folks over there who know how to make a decent game that’s precisely like the original Wizardry games.

    Meanwhile, the last “Ultima” game was a Facebook game. And now it seems Bioware can’t even put a 2 at the end of a title without screwing it up.

    So despite it’s MMO-ness, I figure Wizardry has a better chance under these circumstances that it would over here. And if you don’t like the MMO and you have a PS3, I recommend that one.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Worldbeing says:

    Gamepots?

  38. terazeal says:

    “As the no-doubt divisive image up-top might suggest, it’s due from the East rather than West”

    I cannot for the life of me figure out how that image is supposed to suggest this. The closest thing I can see is that the guy sitting at the table looks like he might be holding chopsticks. If I squint.