Fans of early PC RPGs have almost certainly heard of an RPG series known as Wizardry. After nearly four years in development, the newest game in the series is nearing release. GameSpot took the chance to interview Ian Currie, the director of product development at Sirtech Canada, which is the company developing Wizardry 8. Some excerpts from the full interview follow:
GameSpot: How does Wizardry 8 differ from the previous games in the series? What new features does it include?
Ian Currie: A million things are different in Wizardry 8. It'd take all day to list them all! But I'll mention just a few of the highlights. New features include a full 3D engine and world, 3D monsters, hugely improved monster AI, scads of new spells, a formation editor for your party (so that you can have your strong fighters protect your weak mage), full speech for both your characters and all the NPCs in the game, 36 different personalities you can choose for your characters, a new class called the gadgeteer (he makes odd-but-deadly devices out of pieces of junk he finds lying around), new special abilities for all the classes, a sophisticated NPC interaction system that combines the best aspects of both parsers and keyword systems, and a new "real death" iron man mode. Whew!
GameSpot: Were there any mistakes in the previous Wizardry games that you specifically tried to avoid in this game?
Ian Currie: One drawback of Wizardry 7 was that it was hard for newbies to get started--they could be killed quite easily early in the game. We've designed the beginning of Wizardry 8 to be much more forgiving for new players. We've also eliminated Wizardry 7's random dice rolls in creating and leveling up characters. It was confusing to new players, and it was frustrating to experienced players, too, because they had to continually re-roll to get the character they wanted. So, we've gone to a point-spending system that gives players much more control over their characters.
GameSpot: What kind of progress have you made in finding a publisher for the game? When can we expect to hear more about an official release date?
Ian Currie: Well, the whole publishing side of things is so complex. We've worked too long and hard on this product to simply give it away. As you know, a successful game doesn't just depend on the quality of the game, but the marketing effort involved. We need a marketing commitment that is commensurate with the quality of the game we've developed, or nobody wins. Obviously, we have been in negotiations for a while, but until a deal is signed, it doesn't do any good to speculate.
The full interview is located here. Until Wizardry 8 finds a publisher, it will probably not have a solid release date. However, RPGamer will keep posting information on this continuation to a classic RPG series.