Fresh off the launch of The Making of Karateka, retro game studio Digital Eclipse has announced a remaster of the original action RPG title Wizardry. Even better — it’s out now in early access on both Steam and GOG.
First released in 1981 and developed by Sir-Tech Software, the first Wizardry — or Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, to give it its very long full title — was a first-person, party-based, D&D-inspired RPG that proved incredibly influential and kicked off a long-running franchise. Here’s the official description for the uninitiated:
Craft your own party of adventurers and head into the labyrinth at the behest of the mad overlord Trebor, in search of the amulet stolen by the evil wizard Werdna. Battle challenging monsters, avoid hidden traps, and find your way through the dungeon for the ultimate showdown with Werdna himself.
The developers say that the new version is built on top of the code from the Apple II release of Wizardry, which made it possible to preserve “the appeal of the classic while also incorporating modern graphics and improved party management, navigation, spellcasting, and combat.”
Here’s how the remastered release compares to the original. (The studio says that you can view the original interface while you play if you want.)
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The current version of the remaster features a few modern updates alongside its new graphics, including “one-button combat selection and streamlined party management.” But as an early access title, more features will be added over time; the studio also says the price, which is currently $29.99, will likely rise as the game gets closer to its full release.
Digital Eclipse is known for its well-regarded retro collections, which, more recently, have included giant documentary-style experiences covering the histories of seminal action game Karateka and the first five decades of Atari. Among many other features, those collections included modern reimaginings of older games.
As for Wizardry, its influence is particularly notable in 2023, a year filled with an almost overwhelming number of RPGs, including Final Fantasy XVI, Baldur’s Gate 3, Starfield, Sea of Stars, Diablo IV, and others.