Wizardry remake by the mad overlords at Digital Eclipse

The game came out of nowhere. It’s a remake of the original Wizardry from 1981. Digital Eclipse have made a few really good game/documentary titles such as Atari Anniversary Collection and the just released Making of Karateka - both are incredibly good.

It’s however in early access and is available today at GoG and Steam. This may be the first early access title I end up buying.

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord on GOG.com

Commitment to Accuracy

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is built directly on top of the original 1981 game’s code. Although it looks all new, underneath the hood is the authentic game. You can even view the original Apple II interface as you play.

It’s awesome that this exists and I hope it’s successful. The original is the first game I can remember “playing” as a little kid, and it started a genre that produced some of my all time favorites (World of Xeen, Crusaders of the Dark Savant, Etrian Odyssey, etc.)

I don’t know if I’ll actually play it, though. I’ve tried to revisit it various times over the years, and the graphics were never the issue. There was a lot learned about designing dungeons, combat systems, etc since this came out, and I don’t see a graphical and interface QoL touch-up being enough to stand out over the rest of the genre.

But the rest of you should still buy it so maybe they make Wizardry 9 next, okay?

Wizardry 8 is still one of the most memorable gaming experiences for me.

Wish it wasn’t so annoying and daunting to play - especially the auto-scaling feels extremely dated by now:

I really had zero issue with Wizardry 8 when I played it a dozen years ago. I didn’t even notice the auto-scaling!

Was just reading this article came over here and this thread was top on the page. Ha.

It’s adding fine-looking graphics, a whole bunch of quality-of-life improvements to navigating and managing your party, and quicker combat and spell selection. But it’s built on top of the same code as the original. “You can even view the original Apple II interface as you play,”

That it’s ‘built on top of the same code’ must be hard to work with after so many decades. I’ve had trouble with my nostalgia gameplay in recent years as I think my tolerance for ‘old school’ has been dampened by modern QoL improvements, not to mention the look. But this is interesting enough for me to watch as it heads to release down the road.

They have a Sir-Tech logo on there. Does that company still exist or is that just an homage? Somehow, I never realized that was the very first party-based crpg.

I used to love this type of game. Now I think I love the idea of it more than playing it. Every time I think about it, it just feels like a lot of work. The last one I tried might have been Persona 5, which didn’t click with me at all.

Wowza! What a surprise. I will be curious to see exactly what sort of QoL enhancements they add (and if they are using the Apple code as the base, I seriously hope they fix the way too common “Stat Loss on Level Up” feature introduced in later archive versions of the game).

From a quick look at the Steam discussions, it appears this Early Access build still has a lot of bugs, so I will just keep an eye on it for now. Wiz I is ultimately a pretty simple game, so I would think they could crush those game engine bugs without that much difficulty. Then bring on the Knight of Diamonds DLC!

I really loved the UI in wizardry 8, having your entire party just all look through the same first person window was genius. Those games got really bogged down in mob density which was the thing that ultimately turned me off to them. Be interesting to see what they do with this.

I just couldn’t get into Wizardry 8. I remember they released a pretty lengthy demo. The long duration of most combat rounds was too much for me.

Bane of the Cosmic Forge (Wiz 6) was my first in the series. I tried it after reading a review in CGW. But Might and Magic 3 came out around the same time and I liked its light and easy-going gameplay lot more manageable and played it to completion.

I liked Wiz7 and spent many months in it but never finished it.

In any case I am quite looking forward to this remake. Digtal Eclipse are one of my favorite game developers. The care they show towards these titles from 80s and early 90s is just very heartwarming and unique.

Wizardry and Bard’s Tale were both games I had on my Apple II that I never managed to get anywhere with. It was Might & Magic 1 and Ultima 5 that reached the accessibility threshold for RPGs that matched my adolescent attention span and patience. For one thing, I died a lot in the former games, with no idea what to do to avoid it. But I think the biggest factor was that the levels in Wizardry and Bard’s Tale were basically mazes, which M&M and Ultima, I would argue, put you in places. The levels had a rationale and character that made them feel distinct and less gamey than a maze.

But, anyway, after Karateka, I am an utter fanboy of Digital Eclipse, and thrilled to see any remasters or interactive documentaries that they want to pursue. I love what they’re doing.

That sounds about where I am. The romance of the game as I recall it very quickly meets the reality of how far we’ve come from a graphics, system and QoL standpoint. I recall loving Ultimas but I think I’d personally have trouble with it today if a remake was built on top of the exact same system.

Same with me. Finished it. I think I still have the stack of graph paper maps I made somewhere. Wiz 7 I tried, but IIRC I was just so worn out by 6 that I went on to something else. Tried W8, but the fights were just too damn long. I’m glad this one is being made but I probably won’t get it.

I’d love a remake of Wiz 6 since I never played that one. I skipped right to Wiz 7 once I bought my first PC way back when.

I suspect Wiz 8 would take way too much work to remake. But 6+7 should be very doable. Just rezz up the graphics and make it run natively on Win 11 and I’d be happy.

The remaster of this is pretty good if you haven’t tried it. I only got through the first 2 games and stalled on the 3rd, it has an automap which is what the game desperately needed.

The Bard’s Tale remaster is really good. In addition to the automap it now allows you to save anywhere, which is absolutely a game changer. No more lost progress trying to get back to the Adventurer’s Guild with zero spell points.

Apparently I already own it too! When did that happen?? I think I will check it out.

I, uh, kinda did a Let’s Play of this:

Right now I wouldn’t buy this.

30 bucks is a lot for what is not yet a “old school game with modern sensibilities/touches” (or whatever). I mean it’s a lot for that anyway and for 30 bucks I have certain expectations I doubt will get met, but never mind. But it’s definitely EA right now, and rough.

There is no mouse support. The UI is worse than the original since everything is keyed to either arrows or specific keys like L-shift/L-alt/R-alt/q/e. Menu navigation tends to be a bit obnoxious, e.g. the store especially is a chore (l-ctrl cycles through t he store “filters”, but you have to use L/R-alt to switch characters). Shift or space to camp in the dungeon, (I can’t recall), but also space to go through doors/enter a stair. It’s very weird. Certainly, improvable.

No reach/range weapons that I can see (that’s some modern accoutrement that ought to be there).

There is a sort of “old school/new school” options menu that controls modern touches like an auto map being present. And, you can tweak both character creation and leveling. To the former, you can toggle to a fixed amount of bonus points on creation. This seems to be a terrible ideal, but you can do it (it’s 12ish). Allowing it to roll, I never saw more than 20 but everything seemed to be 6-10 or 17-20 ish, with the high teens rolls being fairly common (20 is not enough for a human samurai, but just enough for a Dwarf). More intriguing, you can toggle whether level ups produce old school randomized stat gains or provide assignable bonus points. No idea what happens on class change yet, of course, as I only played like 10 minutes.

I started with zero money, but 800 gold mysteriously appeared in my inventory. Not before my first dungeon trip, which produced a death predictably. No pooling/divvying, gold at least is just a party thing (inventories are individual otherwise).

There is a “quick action” button in combat, but all the combat hot keys are weird. And, you have to watch some minor animations play out, which is obnoxious (Halito in particular felt janky, but again EA).

Yeah, you can really see the influence it had on JRPG combat, because it is classic JRPG combat. Seeing this, I can’t help but think Wizardry is a evolutionary dead-end at blobbers and strictly old school throwback dungeon crawls I played back on the DSlite.