Stardew Valley is a common point of comparison for the witch school daily life RPG that Chucklefish are making — and not just because Chucklefish also published Stardew — but its relationships will certainly be more challenging. Chucklefish still haven’t formally announced the game tentatively named Spellbound but they are gabbing about it again, this time about how NPCs will have a little more independence and relationships will face more wrinkles and setbacks. For that authentic teen awkwardness experience, you see.
“Where other games are inviting you to live out your perfect fantasy in that you can date whoever you want, you can get married to whoever you want and it’s up to you, Spellbound is a little less forgiving,” Chucklefish CEO Finn Brice told cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer. “Dates can go wrong, things can go wrong, it’s more about that school experience. You might get a few hard knocks.”
Artist and designer Jay Baylis added that they certainly do want people to feel like awkward teenagers. “I think it’s more fun when suddenly you’re caught off-guard and you thought you were living an idealised life and these characters have their own independence.”
“It’s very young adult literature in a lot of ways,” Baylis continued. “We’re taking that idealised heroism away from you and you’re just another awkward teenager at a school of awkward teenagers.”
Though Price did note that “ultimately you’re not going to have a horrific time, and it’s going to work out in the end—and you’re a wizard right? It can only go so badly!”
Tch! Considering this is magic school, ‘going badly’ should include accidentally turning your crush inside-out, offering your own still-beating heart on a platter along with a box of Milk Tray, and dragging the entire school into a hell dimension. Teen wizards these days…
As for what Spellbound is, yep, it’s another daily daily life sim RPG sort of doodad with a splash of action. And… all a bit mysterious, given that it’s not properly announced and doesn’t even have a name yet. But PCG’s interview gets into influences like Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, Zelda… if you imagine Stardew Valley at wizard school with disastrous dates, sure, that’s probably not massively far off. Do read the rest.